Intrigo: Samaria

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Intrigo: Samaria Movie Poster Image
Violence, swearing in bland mystery trilogy's final entry.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 104 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie is mainly about lying and the belief that everyone has the right to their own lie. A bit of remorse at very end over some of the lying, but not enough to indicate that anything has changed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are deceitful, even cruel to one another, under guise that they're trying to find truth about their missing (perhaps murdered) friend. No one changes much, and very little positive behavior is modeled.

Violence

A character is slapped, hard; she hits her head, appears to be dead. Some blood shown. Later, a man slaps a woman in the face; her nose bleeds. He grabs her and throws her down. She throws a vase at him (it hits the wall, crashes open).

Sex

A couple in the midst of a secret affair kisses passionately in more than one scene. They lie in bed together, covers pulled up to their bare shoulders (no graphic nudity).

Language

Multiple uses of "f--k," "f--king." Also "s--t," "damn," "d--k," "moron."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A character says they've had "too much wine" at a party. Several scenes of social drinking. Cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Intrigo: Samaria is the third movie in a trilogy of thrillers based on novels by Swedish author Hakan Nesser (the others are Intrigo: Death of an Author and Intrigo: Dear Agnes). It tells the story of a documentary filmmaker and a former teacher who are trying to find the secret behind the disappearance and possible murder of a young woman. It includes moments of violence against women: A woman is slapped and hits her head (she appears to be dead), and a man slaps another woman across the face, and then grabs her and throws her down. Some blood is shown. Two people kiss passionately, and they're shown lying in bed together under the covers; they appear to be naked. Language includes several uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. There's smoking and frequent social drinking; a character admits that they've had "too much wine." Like the other films in the trilogy, it's flat and emotionless, with a plot that never quite clicks together.

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What's the story?

In INTRIGO: SAMARIA, Paula (Phoebe Fox) wants to make a documentary about her classmate, Vera, who was murdered in her own home years earlier. Vera's father, Jacob (Jeff Fahey), was arrested for the crime and is currently in prison. Paula runs into her former teacher, Henry (Andrew Buchan), and asks whether he wants to help. Henry comes to stay with her, and they proceed to interview the people who knew Vera. But Henry grows dismayed at Paula's tendency to record people without their knowledge. After a visit to Vera's family farmhouse, Samaria, Paula discovers a clue that could change everything and reveal what really happened.

Is it any good?

The third in a trilogy of murder mysteries based on novels by Swedish author Hakan Nesser, this, like the others, is too slow, transparent, confusing, and inconsistent to really provide a jolt. It's interesting how all three movies -- Intrigo: Death of an Author and Intrigo: Dear Agnes are the first two entries -- fail to work in much the same ways. The main problem is that the writing of the mystery is far from seamless or self-contained. In each case, it looks as if the ending was written first (not uncommon for mystery writers), but then the screenwriters had trouble tracing the story back to the beginning. For example, in Intrigo: Samaria, there's no reason in the world why Henry should agree to work on Paula's film, other than the fact that the plot requires him to be there.

Perhaps because the plot is so rigid, the character motivations and behaviors suffer. In so many instances, characters just seem to be drifting, as if unsure which emotion they ought to be having at a particular moment. Moments that should be surprises -- such as when Paula sneakily tries to record a conversation with Henry without his knowledge -- are instead brutally obvious. But perhaps Intrigo: Samaria's worst offense is that, finally, its payoff has so very little to do with the entire setup. Instead, it feels like a "surprise twist" that was tacked on after poor test audience scores. The performers are good, and the characters can be likable in their own ways, but otherwise, the Intrigo series is far from intriguing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Intrigo: Samaria's violence. How much is directed at women? How did those scenes affect you?

  • How are drinking and smoking depicted? Are they glamorized? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

  • How is sex depicted? What values are imparted?

  • What's appealing about murder stories? Why do you think so many good mysteries revolve around acts of violence?

  • How does this movie compare to the others in the trilogy? How do they differ? How do they complement each other?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

Themes & Topics

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