A couple of graffiti ‘writers’ break into the homes of their wealthy targets to make a spray-painted statement. As the duo dissolves, Toby chooses to continue with the graffiti mission, his next target being the home of a judge. What he discovers in the judge’s house will be so disturbing he will not be able to put it aside, and he decides to do something about it, getting him into a very difficult situation.
Let me tell you about a McGuffin, and what it is (it is a Hitchcock thing). McGuffin is that certain something that you cannot see but makes the narrative of the film work, it is always there and grabs the spectator’s attention. It is the unspoken that matters, and success or failure depend on this aspect. It is an intangible element, the unknown, the echo in a deep dark forest…. That, and so much more can be a McGuffin.
Indeed, it is a mystery within a mystery, but if you research further (we have been a bit vague, true) there are movies in which McGuffin works and manages to build up a good thriller, while in others it does not.
I Came By has a very Hitchcockian feel, of course, it is British, portrays characters from various social strata, and it has a McGuffin (in the basement, should you want a hint) that works wonders (well, maybe that is saying too much, it works well).
It is an entertaining movie that manages very well how to construct the narrative in a thriller, and the director, Babak Avari, knows what he is doing, as he knows his movies, and makes quite a few references throughout the feature. One is a quasi-homage to A Clockwork Orange (1971) at the very start of the movie.
Now, if you seek authenticity and loyalty to reality, this is not the story that will give you that. What I Came By does give, is a very entertaining thriller, which is well narrated and tells the story (with a subtext on the social inequality) presenting us with a fascinatingly evil character (no, it is not Toby, as one would have suspected at the beginning with the ‘A Clockwork Orange scene’), and a plot that is well thought out, always spinning round the axis of the premise of a thriller.
It is dark, original, and has sufficient premises to draw in a very wide audience, and become a classic success on the streaming platform. Technically, it is even and balanced, without grand effects, its tempo is steady, and classic camerawork and photography that allows the performances to stand out. All in all, it is a good production.