It's always fun to see an actor play against type. Whether that be Robin Williams in One Hour Photo, Tom Hanks in Road to Perdition, or Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems, there's always something engrossing about it. Hugh Bonneville is the latest of which to make the switch in I Came By now on Netflix.
Going into the film, I knew very little apart from it being plastered all over the streaming service's homepage and briefly topping the rankings. What drew me immediately was the names attached to I Came By – most notably, George Mackay as lead Toby, who previously put in a stellar performance in 1917 and more recently, Munich – The Edge of War. Both are fantastic watches.
Additionally, Kelly MacDonald of Trainspotting, No Country for Old Men and a dozen other projects stars as Lizzie, Toby's mother. MacDonald always makes the most of her screen time. While rounding out the core group you have Percelle Ascott as Toby's best friend, Jay, a rising star who has appeared in Tin Star and Doctor Who. Then topping the lot we have Hugh Bonneville as the mysteriously sinister Hector Blake.
Since launching on Netflix at the end of August, I Came By has received a mixed lacklustre reception, sitting at a 67% rating from critics and an even lower score from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. I can see why to an extent due to the retreaded material when it comes to the story but I also think it deserves a bit more positivity down to one particular performance.
Check out the trailer for I Came By below:
Let's set the scene: I Came By follows the rebellious young graffiti artist Toby who targets the homes of the wealthy elite. Things then get out of hand when a dark secret about a prestigious judge is discovered, putting himself and those closest to him in danger. It's nothing revolutionary. In fact, it doesn't tread new ground at all. What it does do is serve up a remarkably chilling performance from Bonneville that will make Downton Abbey fans double-take throughout.
Without giving away too much, Bonneville's take on the serial killer Hector Blake is calm, collected and methodical. He doesn't rush. He doesn't panic. He simply plans everything that could go right or wrong and acts accordingly. What is most terrifying is his use of power. As a judge and respected member of society, Hector has many connections. It's his brazen approach to believing he can get away with anything that comes over as most unnerving and sadly, most real.
Naturally many aspects of I Came By mirror the society we live in today. That's nothing new – the rich are bad, the poor are good etcetera. It's been done, yes. It's arguably never been more relevant than ever before, though, with a cost-of-living crisis hurting the people at the bottom most once again.
Bonneville flaunts his charm and wealth, yet is only really comfortable when hidden away from the real world to act as he pleases. This is felt more as the movie progresses, hurdling towards the finish line for a predictable and somewhat satisfying ending. It's not likely to win any Oscars or other awards – hell, it's likely to be forgotten by this time next month. Still, I'll never look at Hugh Bonneville the same way again.
I Came By stars George MacKay, Percelle Ascott, Kelly Macdonald, Varada Sethu, Marily Nnadebe and Hugh Bonneville. It's available to stream on Netflix now.
Looking for something else to watch? Check out T3's best Netflix movies of 2022 – so far, including a Jesse Plemons, Lily Collins and Jason Segal-led thriller.