David Tennant was the 10th Doctor Who, and he’s a first rate psycho in ”Bad Samaritan,“ a pretty slick thriller that proves, if nothing else, that not enough films are shot in Portland, Ore.
”Do you know why you’re not in that little jail now?“ Tennant’s Cale Erendreich asks Sean Falco (Robert Sheehan), a petty thief who’s in way over his head. ”Because you’re in mine.“
Indeed. Sean and his best friend Derek (Carlito Olivero) have a neat little scam going. They are valets at a high-end Italian restaurant. Instead of parking the cars of rich clients, they drive them back to their houses and rob them.
When Cale pulls up in a $200,000 Maserati, Sean and Derek are practically salivating over their anticipated haul. But when Sean enters Cale’s house, he finds a woman (Kerry Condon) chained up in a makeshift dungeon. Unable to free her from his shackles, he vows to get help. First he gets the car back to the restaurant, then he places an anonymous 911 call.
But, of course, Cale, sensing something is up, zips straight home and when the police do arrive, there is no trace of his victim.
Sean is shaken by what he saw. ”I’m never so much as stealing a piece of gum for the rest of my life,“ he tells Derek.
Vowing to save the woman, Sean gives himself up to the police, admits he was trying to rob Cale’s place, and to tries to convince them to find the missing woman. But Cale won’t press charges, and with Sean free on the streets, Cale begins unraveling Sean’s life and the lives of those close to him.
Dean Devlin (”Geostorm“), directing from Brandon Boyce’s original script, expertly ratchets up the tension when the mano a mano battle escalates, a personal war that is fought in cyberspace as much as on the streets of Portland.
Still, sometimes the movie is a little too slick. Some of the characters, such as Sean’s girlfriend (Jacqueline Byers) and the FBI agents who begin to believe Sean’s story, are underdeveloped. But Tennant, excellent as a creep, and Sheehan, who is appealing in his helplessness, provide the necessary depth.
Oh, and the next time you have the option of valet parking, maybe park on the street and walk a block or two instead?