Confessions of an Elbaholic: Infidelity Could Endanger the Lives of Your Loved Ones

When you’re stressed out with too many school readings to finish, on top of too many just-for-the-fun-of-it readings, and it’s becoming clear that you’ve bitten off way more than you can chew, the only thing to do is stop, step back, and stick your head in the sand. And here, readers, “stick your head in the sand” means pick out yet another film from Idris Elba’s filmography and forget yourself and your anxieties for an hour and half or so.

Today’s lucky winner is: No Good Deed. It’s the domestic thriller in which stay-at-home mom, Terri (Taraji P. Henson), unwittingly lets a stranger into her home to use the phone following a mishap with his car. Little does she know that this stranger is actually, Colin Evans (Idris Elba), a convict who has recently escaped prison and always been off his rocker.

Anyway, here be spoilers.

The movie starts off with Colin Evans being transported in a police van to the scene of his parole. Though he has been convicted of manslaughter of five young girls, he tells the court that he has turned over a new leaf.

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He’s intelligent, and well-spoken, and the more he speaks, the more you realize there’s cunning hiding there. It’s clear there’s a whole lot more going on under the surface. The court doesn’t buy his new act, though, and denies him parole which only leads to a creepy stare down from Evans that must surely have those men soiling their pants.

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Evans, however, doesn’t plan on waiting another five years. Instead, he ends up killing the two policemen transporting him, and takes off in the van.

Meanwhile, Terri Granger is busy looking after her two kids, and keeping up with the remodelling of her house.

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Her husband, who is apparently always working, and only seems to maintain a vague interest in their home life, comes home only to leave again on a trip to see his father. He’s a little bit detached, and more than a little assholish. I don’t trust him too much.

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Ditch him, Terri.

To cheer the obviously downcast Terri, her friend Meg decides that they’re going to have a girl’s night! Which will apparently involve wine, and… that’s it.

We’re back to Colin, who’s looking disturbing as he creeps on a woman at a cafe. It turns out she’s his old girlfriend, Alexis. He surprises her at her home, wanting to know why she hasn’t been keeping in touch, who her new boyfriend is, etc. etc. He yo-yos between charming and slightly deranged, and it’s kind of terrifying. Alexis is clearly scared for her life, but tries to use her wits and not to set him off. It doesn’t exactly work because he ends up killing her too.

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On the way back, Evans’ van crashes and he decides to knock on Terri’s door to ask to borrow the phone. Terri cautiously agrees, all too aware that she is home alone with the kids, but after seeing the heavy downpour, she softens and invites him in for a cup of tea. The whole time I’m going “DON’T. DO IT.” but Evans, much like the vampire, has been given the invitation to step over the threshold.

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Let the wrong one in.

DUN DUN DUN.

At this point, Elba plays Evans so charmingly, and his chemistry with Henson is spot on that I’m confused for a sec. Am I watching a rom-com or a thriller? He’s all caring and attentive, and then stands around with wet shirt sticking to him, and there’s clearly some tension.

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At this point, Meg arrives with the much promised wine. She, of course, is very single, and very smitten with Evans. When Terri goes off to see to the kids, Meg gets to chat with Evans, and fearing her growing suspicions Evans hits her over the head with a shovel. At this point, Evans go-to-solution is to just take out anyone who stands in his way. Frankly, it doesn’t seem very strategic, and if he’s going to leave dead bodies in his wake, it’s not going to be difficult for the police to track him down.

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Terri returns and is confused when Evans tells her that Meg has to run off. Terri’s no fool, and after noticing Meg’s umbrella is still in the stand she realizes that something’s wrong. She runs to the kitchen to ring the police, but discovers that the phone line has been cut! Of course! And why doesn’t Terri have her cell on her at all times, like every other 21st century being?

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Ugh, this move only worked in the 90s.

After a long and drawn-out tussle that takes place through the house, with winning moves from both parties, (and yes! There are children involved! I was quite scared for them actually), and Terri almost completes a 911 call, Evans takes back the upper hand, and forces her to get into her car with the kids and drive.

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“Marco?” “Get away from me!”

And miracle of miracles, a police car ends up driving past, and Terri flashes her lights at it. But, of course, we were hoping for too much, because after a short interrogation during which Terri can’t really reveal much, because after all, the psycho is in the car with her children, said psycho ends up shooting the police officer. That’s five and counting.

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Evans makes Terri drive to his old girlfriend’s house. Terri asks him why he’s doing this, and he goes “You’ll find out.” So there’s a mystery involved? And we’re finding this out bout two thirds into the film?

Terri, of course, freaks the hell out when she sees Alexis’s dead body. While Evans is distracted with a fallen tree and the car alarm going off, she runs off to find the first aid kit. That’s when Alexis’ cell rings, which Terri answers.

And surprise, surprise! It’s Jeffrey. That two-timing jerk. Terri realizes he’s been having an affair with Alexis, and that Evans’ attack on Terri isn’t spontaneous, but pre-calculated revenge. After ordering her slimy husband to call the police, Terri takes matters into her own hands, hides her kids, and manages to ambush Evans when he comes back into the house. And she kills that sucker.

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After that, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Because not only has that rogue convict been stopped, but Terri now knows that her husband is the actual slimeball that I expected him to be. After a solid punch to his face, Terri takes the kids and leaves, and we cut to … a future Terri with her kids in a new house, who is best friendless, but also cheating husbandless, and predatorless, aka, in a pretty good position.

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Honourable mentions go to Terri punching Jeffrey in the face:

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Yeah, I replayed that. Twice.

Confessions of an Elbaholic: If Your Friends Are Losers, Ditch ‘Em

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I have a serious problem. I keep gravitating towards films starring Idris Elba: indie, blockbuster, praiseworthy, flop, it doesn’t matter: I will watch them all! (I almost unwittingly made an Ash Ketchum reference and commented on how it’s not Poké balls I’m interested in, but never fear, I’ll keep it PG13.)

Houston, there are not enough hours in the week for my problem.

Also, spoilers ahead.

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This week’s culprit is The Losers. An aptly named film about a CIA team consisting of Roque (played by Idris Elba), and his four compatriots who, after a mission gone horribly wrong, are stranded in Bolivia without identities, and very few resources. Understandably Roque is frustrated. As a leader Clay (Jeffrey Dean Moran, or Javier Bardem, who knows) is not pulling his weight. While Roque simply wants to get back home, Clay is intent on fighting the evil mastermind who has landed them in this mess, and foiling said mastermind’s evil plans. I mean, his goals are just unrealistic. Sometimes a guy just doesn’t wanna save the world, y’know? Sometimes a guy just wants to get home and eat the junk food he’s used to.

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Fortunately for the men a resourceful and wily Aisha (Zoe Saldana) appears and it looks as if they might have an escape route. Though Roque does display some doubts, due to Clay being led astray by women in the past, he eventually agrees to along with the plan.

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His instincts turn out to be right, though, when Miss Resourceful’s plan falls through, and she doesn’t deliver what she promised. As you might expect, Roque blows his top, and really, I mean, can anyone blame the guy?

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So, then after everyone realizes they should’ve listened to Roque from the start they concoct a new plan. Under the wonderful leadership of Clay (who apparently is swayed more by his gonads than anything else) they continue to act on information Aisha gives them.

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I had the same expression, too

Anyway, Roque turns out to be right yet again in his doubts, because it’s revealed that Aisha has only been in on the whole thing as a way of getting revenge on Clay for killing her father; you know #justgirlythings.

At this point my eyes were rolling so hard in my head that it was starting to look like the 60s in there. These guys get hoodwinked twice by the same person. (Also, what’s up with that romance angle, anyway? Aisha is way too young for Clay. He should be her uncle or something.)

Why does no one listen to Roque?

Why does no one listen to Roque?

But it turns out Roque is smarter than the others because he secretly formed an agreement with Max AKA Evil Mastermind, so that this time his plans to return home wouldn’t be left in the useless, incompetent hands of Clay. I know, very cleverly done; I didn’t see it coming at all and had to admire his discretion.

So things start looking up for Roque, because it really feels like all he’s ever wanted is at his fingertips, and he can finally ditch his loser friends. But then in one of the worst and unexpected tragedies, Roque is suddenly wiped out in a fiery death. It’s sort of out of the blue.

Most Tragic Scene in the History of Cinema

Most Tragic Scene in the History of Cinema

After that, the movie really flags. It’s just about Roque’s loser friends completing the mission, defeating the bad guy, and going home to their families.

For the most part, it’s a pretty good film. Elba’s in about 80% of it, and while the other 20% just seems to have a gaping hole, you can pretty much replay the Elba bits in your head so it isn’t too unbearable.

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2 out of 5 stars.

Pro tip: could have had more Elba in it.

Honourable mention goes to Chris Evans singing “Don’t Stop Believin’” in the elevator.

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