Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Answer
What is a SAMARITAN? Answer
The parable of the GOOD SAMARITAN is probably the most misunderstood parable. What is it mainly really about? Answer
David Tennant … Cale Erendreich
Kerry Condon … Katie
Robert Sheehan … Sean Falco
Jacqueline Byers … Riley Seabrook
Lisa Brenner … Helen Leyton
Hannah Barefoot … Sabine
Carlito Olivero … Derek Sandoval
Rob Nagle … Don Falco
Dana Millican … Officer Anne Pickett
Austin Leo … Young Cale
Mike Brakefield … Restaurant Patron / Pedestrian
Tony Doupe … Det. Wayne Banyon
Delpaneaux Wills … Officer Aguilar
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“One bad night… one bad decision… can haunt you forever”
Sean Falco is a young, Irish-American student, passionate in the field of photography and digital editing. But you see, Sean also has a second hobby on the side most people don’t know about. When he’s not out taking, eh, “passionate” pictures of his girlfriend or of other subject matters, he’s out supposedly working as a valet with his buddy at a local restaurant. Unbeknownst to the customers, however, Sean and his friend take valeting cars to the next level, by which I mean they use these cars to backtrack to people’s fancy homes and rob them. Everyone has to earn a living, right?
Sean and his buddy have been getting away with this for quite some time now, and it’s been a pretty sweet deal (I mean, hey, it’s just stuff people aren’t going to notice is gone, RIGHT?). It all goes wrong, however, when one night, as Sean is robbing a home, he walks into a room and notices a girl, beaten and strapped to a chair like an animal.
Now at this point, Sean is freaking out. What is he supposed to do? Call the police? Perhaps, but then he might have to identify how he knew there was a girl in there tied up. Leave the girl to die? Sean thinks, “That’s obviously not an option either!” To make matters worse, the kidnapper has cameras everywhere in that house, a MASTER manipulator and, as Sean points out, a psychopath who could snap and kill that innocent girl at any moment.
What’s a bad Samaritan to do?
“Bad Samaritan” is a hard pill to swallow. The film tries to sell the idea of “Hey, here’s this guy who was bad, but now is trying to do the right thing” mentality in the case of its main character, Sean. I really had no feelings for Sean in the beginning, but then when I saw him trying to do the right thing, I did, in a way, start to say, “Yea, I am kind of rooting for him. He wants to change.” In essence, this premise does allow for a genuine cat-and mouse plot scheme to occur between Sean and the main villain, played beautifully by David Tennant, that, in terms of pacing, carries the film fairly nice and smooth for the next 100 minutes.
Yet, the problem with this film lies mainly in the abundance of objectionable material scattered throughout the film. The viewer has to bear witness to scenes of partial nudity and several scenes of (sometimes graphic) violence. What’s worse is that the viewer has to listen to a never—ending cascade of bad language ranging from the f-bomb to the word p**sy (more on this in the Content for Concern section). I am truly getting tired, as a reviewer, of walking into a film, finding so much to enjoy, with regards to its plot and performances, only to have Hollywood destroy it by adding foul language and unnecessary sexual content to draw in younger audiences (highly ill-advised by the way!). The somewhat humorous part of this is that while Hollywood writers add this material to strengthen their films, often time these unnecessary sex/nudity scenes or over-abundant use of language throws off the pacing of the plot or the quality of the film. Go figure.
Vularity/Language: Extreme! Here is the tally mark—f**k (72), J*sus Chr*st (4), J*sus (4), “J*sus f**king Chr*st” (1), “Holy f*ck, G*d (1), G*d-d**n (1), H*ll (1), sh*t (22), bull-sh*t (3), a**(2), a**-hole (5), b**ch (3). Other vulgar language includes p**s (1), scr*w (1), boobies (1), t*tties (1), d**che-bag (1), d**che-tard (1), sh*tra (1), pr*ck (1), “kinky b*stard” (1), ho (another name for a whore) (1), booty call (1), player (1).
Another offensive scene that I was appalled at begins at the beginning in the film in which Sean’s girlfriend, Riley, comes to the door asks if he wants to talk about the Lord, but then says she’ll “jump his bones instead.”
Sexual Content/Nudity: Extreme. Sean takes photos of Riley undressing (she stops half way through though). We later see the photo he took, as it is spread across the Internet, and one of her breasts is completely exposed in it. In another scene, the kidnapper (killer?) has his victim wash with lotions in a specific order (not in front of him), and he comes to visit her afterward, and she is in a towel. She then drops the towel, and we see her naked from behind (the killer is appalled by her dropping the towel). We also witness Sean bathing (shoulders and above). We also witness Sean and Riley having sex.
Violence: Very Heavy. There is a scene involving a fist fight. In another scene, Sean is almost run over by a car. A character is beaten in the head and then shot in the head. Riley is pulled by the hair, and her head is smashed against a brick wall in an alley, falling down a flight of stairs (we later see her in a hospital connected to a bunch of breathing tubes). Another character is hit with a shovel. Another is shot. Lastly, a character is beaten over and over with a stick until they die.
The whole underlying premise of “Bad Samaritan” is that is our moral responsibility to act accordingly when one is in trouble, not to stand on the sidelines and watch. In social-science, the term for when people hesitate to assist someone who is being mugged or attacked is called the “bystander effect.” The mindset is, “If it isn’t our business, stay out of it. I don’t want to get bruised.”
Truth be told, this bystander effect has been around for well over 2500+ years, ever since the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. Yes, we probably have all heard how the story goes, but what is more important are the lessons that we draw from it that, again, appear in Christ’s messages later. On the commandments, Jesus states:
“The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” –Mark 12:31
And Jesus states this about helping those in need…
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” –Matthew 7:12
Lastly in the book of Jeremiah it states:
“Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.” —Jeremiah 22:3
“Bad Samaritan” has me quite perplexed. It offers an interesting premise regarding morality and the responsibility to act while subjugating this premise under very unique and, to be quite honest, unlikely circumstances. Additionally, while the performance of David Tennant (and occasionally the lead) also offers some complexity and originality to the film, this does not negate the unnecessary and pervasive amount of language, partial nudity and sexual dialog that plagues this film. To put it simply, this is NOT a film for anyone, Christians or otherwise. PLEASE do NOT subject yourself or the Holy Spirit to this film. Find something better to do.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.