Damaged (2024): Movie Review

Bramwel Oloo
Bramwel Oloo

Terry McDonough’s “Damaged” takes viewers on a transatlantic journey of murder, mystery, and mayhem in this gritty thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end.

Set against the backdrop of Chicago’s bustling windy streets and the haunting landscapes of Scotland, “Damaged” opens with a gruesome murder scene that sets the stage for a relentless pursuit of justice.

Samuel Jackson commands the screen as Detective Dan Lawson, a troubled investigator grappling with his demons amidst the chaos of the case. Lawson is a jaded detective known for his alcoholism as much as his investigative skills.

Upon the discovery of murders in Scotland similar to a serial killer that Lawson and his ex-partner Bravo (Vincent Cassel) failed to catch five years prior, Lawson is quickly sent over the pond to assist Scotland-based Detective Glen Boyd (Gianni Capaldi).

Boyd’s marriage is strained after the recent loss of his young child which adds a complicated past for him to wrestle with for the duration of the investigation.

What begins as a straightforward hunt for a killer takes unexpected twists and turns, evolving into a gripping story that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. As the case grows more convoluted, Lawson brings in Bravo to partner up once more adding new experienced insight into the mind of the suspected serial killer our heroes must catch with haste as the bodies begin to pile up.

McDonough’s direction navigates the intricate plot with precision, delivering a rollercoaster ride of suspense and intrigue.

While the performances of the main cast range from serviceable to stilted at times, Samuel L. Jackson shines as the haunted Detective Lawson, showcasing a range that goes beyond his typical action-hero persona. Jackson has what appears to be a fun time portraying a haunted Lawson as he flits from being an expert in crime scene investigation one moment to slurring drunkard the next. However, there isn’t much of the usual Nick Fury-style bravado on display in this movie. 

Gianni Capaldi delivers a compelling portrayal of Detective Glen Boyd, infusing the character with a mix of vulnerability and determination as he grapples with personal tragedy.

Despite its shortcomings in character development and pacing, “Damaged” succeeds in keeping viewers engaged with its atmospheric cinematography and tense chase sequences.

McDonough’s decision to lean into the film’s lower budget constraints results in a gritty, authentic feel that adds to the overall experience.

However, “Damaged” falls short of reaching its full potential, leaving audiences craving deeper exploration of its characters and themes. With a runtime of just 97 minutes, the film struggles to balance exposition with action, resulting in rushed partnerships and underdeveloped story arcs.

Ultimately, “Damaged” is a decent enough thriller that offers plenty of twists and turns to keep audiences entertained. While it may not break new ground in the genre, its solid performances and gripping storyline make it worth a watch on a quiet Thursday night.

With a bit more time to simmer, “Damaged” could have been a standout addition to the thriller genre, but as it stands, it’s a satisfying yet somewhat forgettable entry in the world of crime cinema. 

A film like this has the potential to be a poignant character study but instead feels like a missed opportunity.

Share This Article