Samuel L. Jackson’s Good “Samaritan”
No sooner had I condemned Samuel L. Jackson for the hellish Meeting Evil than I discovered the Hardest Working Man in Show Business (since James Brown died) stars in another new, direct-to-VOD thriller, The Samaritan. And damned if it isn’t good!
This time, Jackson (who also coproduced the film) plays Foley, an ex-grifter who’s freshly paroled after serving a 25-year sentence for the forced murder of his former partner. He’s soon drawn into a scheme involving his ex-cohort’s now-grown son (Tell Me You Love Me‘s spectacularly sleazy Luke Kirby), a hooker young enough to be his daughter (Irish/Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga, a real find), and the seemingly perfect mark (Tom Wilkinson—is he ever not great? Okay, except in The Green Hornet?). But nothing is as it seems… or is it?
Jackson’s performance is every bit as subtle and masterful as his work in Meeting Evil is indulgently over-the-top. And cowriter-director David Weaver (a Canadian TV vet) impressively weaves a suspenseful story that will make you question everyone’s motives right up until the last shot. Maybe even afterwards.
Hitting theaters in limited release tomorrow, The Samaritan can stand alongside classic con-artist flicks like The Sting, The Grifters and The Spanish Prisoner. Yet the movie it reminded me of most was Neil Jordan’s 1986 masterpiece Mona Lisa, another tale of a newly sprung ex-convict who gets tragically mixed up with a biracial call girl. Bob Hoskins and Cathy Tyson won multiple awards for their roles in that film. If The Samaritan‘s “Pre-Theatrical Rental” release doesn’t disqualify it, Jackson and Negga should merit similar consideration. Oscar nominations for these two would prove the Academy is made up of truly good Samaritans.
Will you give The Samaritan a shot? Fire away with your comments!