An ex-CIA agent and his estranged daughter are forced on the run when his employers erase all records of his existence, and mark them both for termination as part of a wide-reaching international conspiracy.
The expatriate and widower Ben Logan has moved from New York to Anrwep with his estranged teenage daughter Amy Logan to work for the technology corporation Halgate Group. When he breaks a sophisticated security code from a device, he notes that its patent has no record in Halgate and he calls the attention of his boss Derek Kohler. Ben meets Amy and they do not go home; later Ben goes with Amy to his office and they find it completely empty. Further, all the records of his phone calls, e-mails, payslip and bank account have vanished. Out of the blue, a coworker abducts Ben and Amy in the bank but Ben kills him in self-defense. Ben finds a key from a locker in the Central Station and he finds photos of his daughter, himself and his coworkers. His further investigation shows that all the workers are dead in the morgue except Derek Kohler. Soon Ben discovers a huge conspiracy of Halgate Group relative to illegal arms sales to Africa with the involvement of rogue CIA agents. But Ben is in... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Erased or Expatriate--same fast, kinetic, well done boilerplate film
Can we make a new genre here? British/American executive/spy/father gets in trouble in Europe and has to go on the run with corporate/government/counterspy evil everywhere.
I could list some (never mind the great Bourne films, which are extremes of the type). Certainly the "Taken" films (there are three now) are the closest parallel, but even "The International" comes to mind in the same vein. All of these have a sense of fear and darkness about the global order that glooms down on the characters.
And "Erased" is powerfully made, with good claustrophobic and jittery camera-work, believable acting, and a reasonable (if roughly familiar) plot. You get swept up quickly, as Aaron Eckhart juggles a high-security job and a teenage daughter going to private school. Through a quick (a peanut allergy) he avoids an early death and the movie takes off. All along the daughter is both emotional fodder for the feeling side of the film and a bit of a formative action figure (now and then). But it's dad who is really showing his smarts and fighting skills as an ex-CIA man.
Set in beautiful Belgium, the scenes range from those gorgeous old Europe streets and government buildings to the new Europe and high end glass corporate life. And then to the new, growing minority areas where Arabs and other Muslims live. Part of this emphasis might come from the main writer on the story, Arash Amel, who surely paints the division of cultures in a sympathetic way. Director Philip Stolzl is one of the newer generation of German mainstream directors with an eye for sweeping fast visuals and a solid plot ("North Face" is highly recommended). He, perhaps too much like Tom Tykwer, is taking a detour into some well-worn territory here, but showing his chops.
Expect to never be bored, to never know quite what might happen next, and to enjoy the ride kinetically. Even if nothing quite original happens. Ever.
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