Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 2014. Screen Gems, Will Packer Productions. Screenplay by Aimee Lagos. Cinematography by Michael Barrett. Produced by Lee Clay, William Packer. Music by Paul Haslinger. Production Design by Chris Cornwell. Costume Design by Keith G. Lewis. Film Editing by Randy Bricker, Jim Page.
Jailed for manslaughter and suspected of killing five women that a lack of evidence kept off his overall sentence, hardened criminal Idris Elba is up for parole but, thanks to one dissenting vote is ordered to return to prison. Not that he cares, since he ignores the ruling, kills his prison guards en route to the farm and drives across state lines to Atlanta. A car accident leaves him stranded and takes him to the house of a lawyer’s wife (Taraji P. Henson) who is spending the weekend alone with her two small children while her husband is at a golf tournament. Henson feels bad for leaving Elba out in the storm when he is waiting for a tow truck to come pick him up, so she invites him to dry off and have a cup of tea, and before long finds herself in a deathtrap that requires her to keep herself safe from his violence and make sure her children aren’t harmed either. Slick and clever, this juicy thriller is terrific fun, beginning with a wonderful sense of tension as Henson joyfully prances around her house unaware of the danger she has let in, the audience breathless to get her attuned to the situation. When she realizes what she is up against, and between Elba’s formidable physical presence and hard-edged manner it’s quite the adversary, the film finds plenty of ingenious ways to keep these two superb actors outwitting each other until the glorious finale. It’s a familiar genre exercise but a very good indulgence of it.