“I Came By” Makes Underwhelming Commentary


Complete with a star-studded cast, “I Came By” was released on Netflix this past August. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Babak Anvari’s thriller “I Came By” is a gripping 90-minute film that follows the consequences of a politically-motivated graffiti artist’s break-in to the house of a prominent judge where he unearths a life-changing secret. The British thriller follows Toby (George MacKay), a morose twenty-something that has a grudge against the world and the power imbalance within society. Because of this grudge, he has a side hustle of tagging the houses of the wealthy and prominent. The movie’s villain is Hector Blake (Hugh Bonneville), often referred to as “Saint Blake” for his work getting asylum seekers their visas. After Toby’s friend, Jay (Percelle Ascott), puts him on the path to pursue Blake as his next target, a tangled mess of secrets and chaos ensues. The question is: Is it worth the watch?

The film itself is hard to follow. It begins with the stereotypical “lawbreaker who ends up saving the day because of his inability to follow the rules” plot with the average Brit who is angry about his situation, but then diverges from that and takes on an entirely different agenda. This change of pace is refreshing, however not well executed. I viewed the changes in the plot as less of a jump to another sphere of the movie and instead as whiplash. For such a short film, there were many neck-jerking turns made within the plot that made it somewhat hard to distinguish who the protagonist was and if their goal was ever going to be accomplished. 

One of the few redemptive qualities of the film was the fact that Hugh Bonneville, most notably from “Downton Abbey,” starred in the film. However, the fact he was the villain ruined the image I had of him as the comforting, British father he had established himself as. He still had a great performance, no matter how unnerving it was to see him playing somewhat of a psychopath instead of Lord Grantham. But the writing of his character seemed rushed and ill executed, something that rings true with most of the character development.

The movie also carried a bleak message that the rich are often very powerful. A true ode to the times we are living in. 

That saddening and unsheltered truth being laid bare in the film was somewhat eerie. It was unnerving how it depicted the helplessness of people on the periphery of society. For example, the film dealt with immigrants and people seeking asylum within Britain. It is a pressing problem in today’s world and illustrates how these people could be abused or taken advantage of due to the fact they are in need of valid citizenship in lands that are not their home country. This situation is not portrayed well throughout the movie, but it makes a novel attempt to offer some criticism on the corruption surrounding this issue.

Although the movie itself is not anything truly special, it is a good mind-numbing thriller to watch if bored, and it carries a hopeful message. The ending leaves the viewer with the mindset that the world can truly get better if we are able to push for what is right, no matter how difficult it may be for us. I would not personally recommend the film, but if you are looking for a movie that fits with the times, “I Came By” may be just the movie for you.