Out of prison after 25 years, reformed conman Foley (Samuel L Jackson) is keen to leave his criminal past behind. But his dead partner's son Ethan (Luke Kirby) is just as determined to lure him into one last scam to swindle $8million from a ruthless kingpin (Tom Wilkinson). And to ensure Foley's involvement, Ethan plays a devious trick of his own. The fiendish central twist lifts this stylishly intriguing crime drama way beyond its pulp fiction premise.
Samuel L Jackson
Though having no association with Marvel Comics and released in the US as 'The Samaritan', this slick B-thriller not only arrives on these shores at exactly the same time as megabuster Avengers Assemble - featuring Samuel L Jackson's superhero-wrangler Nick Fury - but comes with a punchy name change. Fancy that.
But be still those cynical hearts, as Fury offers enough noir-ishment to take away the taste of any cheap marketing ploys.
A Jim Thompson-ish tale of crime and consequence, it finds Jackson's sorrowful grifter Foley out on parole after doing 25 years for killing his partner, whose heist-minded son Ethan (Kirby) expects Foley to make further amends.
"Everyone I care about is either dead, almost dead or wants me dead," he tells young floozy Iris (Ruth Negga of TV's Misfits) after saving her from a sex attack in his local bar.
Sharing the need for a fresh start, the two troubled souls are soon shacked up and going straight. But their happiness is cut short when Ethan springs a nasty surprise.
The cruel yet nicely timed twist sets up a second act that sees Foley given no choice but to join Ethan in a scam to relieve Wilkinson's vicious crime boss of $8million.
Though lauded as Foley's heist de resistance, details of the grift remain annoyingly murky, as does Debra Kara Unger's role as the accomplice. Nor does the script do much to make Wilkinson's Xavier more than a greedy wine bore.
But if you want a lesson in advanced grifting, call Danny Ocean. Director David Weaver and co-writer Elan Mastai are far less concerned with the score than Foley's struggle to survive both it and the pervading emotional turmoil.
In that, they succeed with a darker-than-average morality tale that makes the most of its Toronto backdrops and delivers a suitably bloody pay-off.
Anyone who likes their crime stories lean, mean and lit by neon will be suitably rewarded.