A formulaic thriller with a teen heroine not to mess with. You'll not sleep through this actioner.
Directors: Jonathan Milott (Bushwick), Cary Murnion (Cooties)
Screenplay: Nick Morris, Ruckus Skye. Lane Skye (The Devil to Pay)
Cast: Lulu Wilson (The Haunting of Hill House), Kevin James (Paul Blart)
Runtime: I h, 33m
By: John DeSando
As boilerplate thrillers go, Becky will keep you alert and thinking the usual themes given the setup. Feisty, alienated 13-year-old Becky (Lulu Wilson) fights their home invasion of four escaped convicts headed by Dominick (Kevin James). They’re ripe for Becky’s ingenious retribution, a bloody mess if there ever was in a formulaic actioner.
Most good thrillers like The Silence of the Lambs will have side themes worthy of a major film. In Becky, the trauma of Becky losing mother to illness is exacerbated by Becky not being favorable to dad
Jeff (Joel McHale) marrying again to black Kayla (Amanda Brugel). Add to it they are a mixed couple, which plays later. Throughout Becky is a very angry teen.
But she is resourceful, and the sensational retributions to the four cons should satisfy the devotees of the genre. While the cons belong to an Aryan brotherhood, and Dominick’s head has a big swastika on the back, the cruelty of the neo-Nazis, who are looking for a hidden key, is murderous and sickening. Only Apex (6’10” former wrestler Robert Maillet) and his guilty conscience may save the day. Not that Becky will factor in his remorse in her relentless retribution.
Directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion keep a lid on the politics (e.g., racism and alt-right forces), and given today’s incendiary climate, a good thing. The camera work that parallels action is effective for creating suspense and dread.
If the revenge motif dominates, so does the notion that action must be taken against hostile, unrelenting outside forces no matter the cause. For those prone to taking action against hostiles, this is the film that glorifies that bravery. Dustin Hoffman’s Straw Dogs is a model of the mild-mannered hostage taking action.
Given that dogs play an important role in Becky, the tie binds in pop-culture film. Much more hidden in this little gem. Cinema Classics will deal with the Nazi theme in this and other films of our time.
When I have had enough of heady art films, Becky is the right visceral antidote. Enjoy the mayhem—it’s only a movie.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com