‘No Good Deed’ Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba go to Battle In Tantalizing Thriller [Film Review]

By Janet Walters Levite
Janet Walters Levite
Janet Walters Levite
Janet Walters Levite is a Philadelphia Native living in Manhattan, New York. She is an optioned Screenwriter to Film Writer-Producer-Director HENRY BEAN. She is also a Film Critic and Entertainment / Content writer for BLAST MAGAZINE.COM and former FILM CRITIC for THE GUARDIAN LIBERTY VOICE, and Philadelphia's SCOOP USA newspaper. Janet Walters Levite is a Film and Pop Culture enthusiast, and lover of all things NYC.
September 12, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Opening in wide release on Friday, September 12, 2014, one day after Taraji P. Henson’s 44th birthday, No Good Deed stars Henson alongside silver screen English heartthrob and James Bond hopeful, Idris Elba.   Henson and Elba have also served as executive producers of  this Screen Gem production shot in Atlanta, Georgia.

Directed by Sam Miller whose body of work consists mainly of television acting and directing, and written by Amy Lagos in her first major film release, No Good Deed appears to be the newborn baby child of all of the artists involved.  That being said, this particular production is rendered no less entertaining than other similar productions pieced together by more seasoned film industry veterans. 

No Good Deed, stars Idris Elba as Colin, a deranged escaped convict who had recently been denied paroled.  Taraji P. Henson stars as Terri, a lovely young lawyer turned homemaker, who is being neglected by her aloof husband portrayed by television actor Henry Simmons.  Terri isn’t quite feeling as good about herself as she used to when she was practicing law and prosecuting men with a record of battering women.

On a nasty stormy night Terri opens her door to Colin after he crashes his car and knocks on her door to ask for a cell phone.  Terri allows herself to become far more comfortable with the stranger than common sense would dictate, and invites him in to treat his head wound and change in to her husbands dry clothing. Silly girl. While initially nothing seems amiss about Colin, Terri soon enough realizes that she was in error by opening the door this stranger as he proves to be a terrorizing menace in her own home.

Promoted as the stalker thriller with a twist ending, No Good Deed lives up to the promotion.  There is indeed a twist ending that most won’t necessarily catch as the production leads up to its finale.  Does the twist lie with the relations between Terri, her husband,  and her best friend Meg (Leslie Bibb /tv show About A Boy)?  I’m not telling! As the film progresses viewers will find themselves mentally fiddling with the possibilities of  where the twist may lie, but most won’t see it until it’s already upon them.

No Good Deed possesses its share of thriller cliche’s and run-of-the-mill cat and mouse antics.  Who in this day and age just opens their door without at least looking through a window or a peephole? Terri does!   Will Colin lay lifeless on the floor after being pummeled by Terri?  Of course he will.  Will he suddenly arise again to catch Terri unaware???  You bet your sweet Georgia peach he will.   Will Terri kick, hit or stab Colin and then choose to dash away as opposed to finishing him off while he’s already in a vulnerable state?  Of course she will!  It simply wouldn’t be a suspense thriller if these things didn’t occur, and movie viewers don’t seem to mind at all.   The aforementioned deja vu moments within No Good Deed do not at all hinder the appeal of this production.

The production is aerialed via the star power of both Henson and Elba. Certainly Henson has delivered more powerful performances in roles that were simply far more dynamic than this role as the beleaguered mother fending off an intruder.  Idris Elba however gets a chance to flex the range of his craft in No Good Deed.  His fans (who maniacally scream out loud during a shot of his nude silhouette) are not used to seeing him in such an antagonistic role.  This character reversal for Elba was certainly being counted on as a draw for No Good Deed, and ultimately Elba is not only believable as the deranged convict, but real darn creepy to watch.  

Rumors abound that Elba may be the first Black actor to star as the iconic spy character James Bond.  While he does indeed seem to fit Bond look, Elba has brushed off the rumors and asserted that he has no interest in the role.  For shame.  He’d make a fantastic Bond.

 

 Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba Executive Produce No Good Deed.

Epoch Times Photo  

Henson as Terri is as well convincing in her role.  With that being said we’ve already seen Miss Henson in a potpourri of diverse roles over the years.  Audiences are already well aware of her range as actress.  Henson has already flexed her performance muscles in roles that vary from the hard working mom in The Karate Kid to a haughty loud-mouth in 2004’s Talk To Me, to the self-centered, troubled heroine in Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself, to her Academy Award winning role as the old woman Queenie from The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.  No Good Deed utilizes Henson’s talents in a muted role as an over-achieving professional who is finding herself alone after choosing to give up work as Lawyer to be at home with her young daughter and infant son.  While Henson as Terri, does indeed at first find herself caught off guard and flustered by Colin’s harrowing presence,  the more calculating and cunning Terri eventually kicks in which saves her from certain harm.

Henson as well bares a striking resemblance to iconic singer Diana Ross, and would make an outstanding choice in the lead of a Ross biopic. With her skill as a veteran actor, as well as quite a lovely singing voice, there simply couldn’t be a more suitable choice.

Rated PG-13 for violence, No Good Deed is 84 minutes long and doesn’t lull for one moment of the 84 minutes.  If movie-goers wish to see No Good Deeds and make sure that it succeeds at the box office – they must see this film during this opening weekend, as the opening weekend sales are the only box-office sales that count with regard to film.  It determines whether or not studios will invest their monies again in placing Black American actors in the lead of  non-ethnic roles.  The success of No Good Deed will not only serve to further the careers of Henson and Elba, but will also serve to open new doors for other actors to obtain more versatile roles.

No Good Deed is 84 minutes of rousing suspense that’s well worth the price of admission.  See it this weekend at a first run theater near you.   Four Stars.

JWL

Follow Janet Walters Levite’s News and Entertainment Posts on Twitter:  @JanetWLevite

Janet Walters Levite is a Philadelphia Native living in Manhattan, New York. She is an optioned Screenwriter to Film Writer-Producer-Director HENRY BEAN. She is also a Film Critic and Entertainment / Content writer for BLAST MAGAZINE.COM and former FILM CRITIC for THE GUARDIAN LIBERTY VOICE, and Philadelphia's SCOOP USA newspaper. Janet Walters Levite is a Film and Pop Culture enthusiast, and lover of all things NYC.