Jungle
No Good Deed

No Good Deed

Movie
Director(s): 
Genre: 
In Theatres: 
Sep 12, 2014
Grade:
B
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 24 Minutes

No Good Deed sets up your usual set of thriller movie characters: The nosy friend, the out of control villain, the isolated victim, the authority figure who just managed not to be helpful.  However, Henson and Elba, thanks to their enormous acting skills, help to keep these expected players fresh.  

Terry [Taraji P. Henson], a former state’s attorney and self described powerful woman has lost herself in a rocky marriage and motherhood. She is struggling through postpartum depression and her argumentative, neglectful husband isn’t helping her stay afloat. When a gorgeous, attentive, soaking wet Colin [Idris Elba] appears in need and on her doorstep, Terry is just vulnerable enough to let him in.

Fresh from a prison break and enraged by the parole board’s rejection, Colin is on the run. A violent narcissist, he senses Terry’s insecurities and plays into them; making sure the moments of attention he gives her will turn into favors and good will for him.

Elba is as equally charming as he is threatening, able to switch moods with an effortless speed to achieve whatever desire flits across his malicious design. Although Terry tempts fate and  sometimes tried my patience by doing/not doing things that could classify her as “too stupid to live”, (typical to so many irritating thrillers) her character improves as the movie matures. As the tension increases, Terry begins to show some of the power she had previously lost and you can see the hint of the clever and confident attorney she used to be. Thanks to Henson, Terry manages to remain sympathetic through out. Even though the cast is small and tight, things never feel claustrophobic.

It has been a very long time since a thriller (not a torture porn, horror, slasher flick) featured a woman in the lead role as survivor and a with two black leads at that? Longer still. When I interviewed Taraji P. Henson, she told us about how difficult it had been to get the film from script to screen.

We really had to fight to get this made, because it hasn’t been done. And people frown, “Oh, it’s never been done, it’s uncharted territory!” Somebody has to take a risk. I think they were smart for doing this because now studios are like, “Oh, my God! Yeah!” Everything is about casting and script. If the script, the material is good, people are going to go. They won’t care what color the cast is.

We literally had to fight for this. They were like, “Oh, just do a comedy!” I was like, “NO, I will not do a comedy!” Not with these two actors! You have a Golden Globe winner and an Academy award nominated actress, these are respected actors in the game. They could totally do this. I’m so glad we fought, because this is the beginning. And that’s why I took the project. I was thinking, “When is the last time I saw a women stand up for herself and not be the victim in a thriller?” J-Lo in “Enough”, Julia Roberts in “Sleeping with the Enemy” That was how many years ago? It’s time! It’s time. And I think, women, no matter what color you are, mothers everywhere will identify with Terry.”

One look at the wiki for No Good Deed and it is evident there was a great bit of hesitation to release this film.

No Good Deed was initially set to be released on October 18, 2013. In January of 2013, Screen Gems announced the film would be moved to open on January 17, 2014, at the beginning of the MLK Holiday weekend. This date conflicted with another Will Packer-produced film, Ride Along, a Universal Pictures release that stars Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. For this reason, in April 2013, the studio pushed back No Good Deed's release date for a second time to April 25, 2014. Yet again, in early October 2013 (and giving no specific reason), Screen Gems for a third time pushed backed the release date of the film to September 12, 2014. Sony Pictures Releasing debuted the first official trailer for the film on June 12, 2014

Even at the screening, producer Will Packer gave a short speech stating how difficult the process had been and how important it was that this film had finally made it to market. Had this film had any less talented and hardworking people behind it (they filmed six days a week!), such hesitation would be warranted, however, seeing the film, it’s hard to point out any good reason for such reluctance.

No Good Deed operates the way a thriller should. There are plenty of moments that make you scream, sit up straight, and make your sympathies battle it out between Terry and Colin.  A good thriller will give you the urge to talk to the screen, have you grab an arm rest, and ultimately feel like a cohesive roller coaster ride, victorious at the end. No Good Deed does all of these things, yet one question remains: Why did Colin choose Terry? That’s one door I won’t open for you.

Maria Jackson
Review by Maria Jackson
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