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Parents' Guide to

Bad Samaritan

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Interesting characters, situations in violent thriller.

Movie R 2018 110 minutes
Bad Samaritan Poster Image

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Kids say (2 ):

The idea behind this thriller isn't terribly fresh or original, but it works well enough thanks to Sheehan's relatable, believable, flawed hero and Tennant's terrifying psychopath. Director Dean Devlin, previously a screenwriter on Independence Day and the director of Geostorm, scales back from gargantuan, cosmic destruction in Bad Samaritan in favor of creating a realistic situation with its own history and nuances. The places and relationships in Bad Samaritan feel genuine. Despite Sean's career as a burglar and his panicked hesitation to help a person in jeopardy, he earns our trust back with his feverish attempts to right his wrong, as well as his background as a talented photographer who's wary of "selling out."

Tennant's performance is reminiscent of his work as the nasty Kilgrave on Jessica Jones; he brings a disconcerting level of class, education, and breeding to the vicious Erendreich -- he just makes your skin crawl. Written by Brandon Boyce (Apt Pupil, Wicker Park) in the vein of many 1990s thrillers, Bad Samaritan does occasionally make an aggravating mistake: Erendreich is too all-knowing, as if he's able to read minds or see everything at once. A great villain needs to have flaws, too, and most of the time, this one is just too perfect. Perhaps that could have been tightened up if Bad Samaritan hadn't been allowed to go on for 110 minutes -- but these quibbles ultimately don't dampen the movie's overall tense effect.

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