The Expatriate – Review

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Shock headline: Above average looking thriller turns out to be… average.

Oh Aaron Eckhart I could stare at that chin for hours. That winning smile. Oh Aaron I could watch you peel an orange for five hours and still thank you when you through the peel in my face.

Sadly I didn’t count on The Expatriate to ruin this man-crush streak. Reading through the synopsis conjures up memories of True Lies mixed with some secretions left over from Taken. Ben Logan (Eckhart) is an ex-CIA agent, now working for a security firm in Europe who has to go on the run with his estranged daughter when he’s ear-marked for assassination… for some reason. With much of the thanks laid at Luc Besson’s door for the recent spate of modest-budget, nicely shot, Euro thrillers (The Transporter 1-87, From Paris With Love, Killer Elite etc) The Expatriate seems happy to help this trend along.

Opening with an intense action sequence before quickly settling into a domestic drama revolving around Logan’s attempts to re-connect with his daughter who until recently had lived with her deceased mother back in the US. Scenes within a security company appear outwardly dull but are somewhat interesting. As the plot begins to kick in the film turns into a Hitchcockian mystery as Logan’s job and existence seem to have been wiped off the face of the Earth. Intriguing. Why has this happened? I wager we’re going to get into a twisty-turner puzzle of a story, filled with dark shadows, double meanings and… oh look there’s a car chase.

Every moment that director Phillipp Stolzl spends creating atmosphere and intrigue in the opening twenty minutes is destroyed and never found again as The Expatriate turns into a car chase, random shoot out melee. Loud crashes and gun shots can be exciting as hell but here not so much. Occasionally things quieten down so the film makers can keep up the pretense that we still give a damn about Logan relationship with his increasingly annoying daughter. Played increasingly annoyingly by Liana Liberato. Half way through Olga Kurylenko appears as a extremely attractive but extremely improbable CIA-agent.

So car chases, on-foot chases, gun fights, people breaking into each others apartments to warn them about covert dealings, people in offices saying mean things about our hero. The film you probably have in your head right now is The Expatriate. There you’ve seen it. I suppose if you really want to look at the charming (Eckhart) and the beautiful (Kurylenko) you could watch this. As I’ve said before about similar films. It’s not that The Expatriate is a bad film. It’s alright. It’s just disappointing that it promises something a bit different before dulling down into generic action fare.

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