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The Expatriate - Review

The Expatriate

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

AARON Eckhart brings intelligence and muscle to The Expatriate, a better-than-average entry into the post-Bourne spy genre.

Directed by Philipp Stölzl (of North Face fame), this is a thriller that opts for low-key action sequences and taut plotting above too much braun. And it benefits from it, playing to Eckhart’s strengths as a great character actor.

The story takes place in Belgium where former CIA agent Ben Logan is working as a consultant for a high-profile security devices company while attempting to re-connect with his recently-relocated teenage daughter Amy (Liana Liberato).

His new existence takes a turn for the worse, however, when he identifies a product error and turns up to work the next day to find the place completely deserted and empty. Upon further investigation, he finds the head office in Antwerp has no record of the company or his employment and former colleagues are beginning to turn up dead.

Realising that his former skills have been exploited and his life is also now under threat, Logan goes on the run with Amy while attempting to uncover the truth and get his life back.

Part Bourne, part Unknown and part Taken, The Expatriate is a serviceable entry into that genre that succeeds by bringing a gritty realism to the action and also keeping things more character-driven.

There are inevitable flaws, from the derivative elements of the story to some of the more contrived elements. But Stölzl directs the action with an efficiency that should satisfy genre fans, while Eckhart makes a good action hero.

Liberato, who impressed in David Schwimmer’s Trust, does more good work here as Ben’s daughter (part precocious, part vulnerable and struggling to catch up to her dad’s shady past), while Olga Kurylenko also crops up as an American agent with a dark agenda.

The numerous villains/assassins also convince and provide Eckhart with some worthwhile adversaries, leading to some decent confrontations (perhaps the most shocking of which takes place in a hospital where the bullets really do fly and cause a lot of collateral damage).

A somewhat sentimental ending does undermine the film’s ability to leave a lasting impression but on the whole this entertains as a solid action thriller built around strong central performances.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 100mins
UK Release Date: April 5, 2013