The Expatriate is an odd amalgamation of 90s thriller and 00s Bourne-style actioner. Aaron Eckhart and Olga Kurylenko star in this entertaining thriller and it’s something of a shame that this will bypass the wider audience and go straight to Blu-ray.
Eckhart plays Ben Logan, a widowed former CIA agent working in Belgium as a private security consultant. Logan is finding it difficult balancing his new job with bringing up his estranged teenage daughter ( Liana Liberato), who blames him for the upheaval in her life. One day Logan goes to work to discover that his office no longer exists, his work colleagues are dead and a CIA hit squad is after him.
Philipp Stölzl’s film doesn’t break new ground in the action-thriller genre, but what makes The Expatriate work is its old fashioned quality. Three Days Of The Condor is name-checked in the special features and this film has that same low key quality (albeit tarted up for this techno age). The Expatriate doesn’t try and offer CGI and big explosions – there’s action, but it’s not spectacle. Think of it as an acoustic version of Taken, more about suspense than broken bones.
Eckhart is a great lead and it’s good to see him as the main character, rather than playing second banana. He’s understated as the former CIA agent with a shady past, part Jack Ryan, part Jason Bourne. It’s a great role and there’s definitely room for a franchise here. Olga Kurylenko is decent as his old flame sent to track him down, but she’s given little to do, which is disappointing considering that this type of role is usually played by men – they could really have done something different.
It’s safe to assume that The Expatriate (or Erased, as it’s also known) didn’t get a bigger release because it isn’t high-octane enough. It manages to run out of steam in the last act and the ending looks like it may have been tweaked in the editing room. However, it’s a solid movie that deserves to be seen and you could do much worse than picking it up rather than the usual mainstream action fare.
The Expatriate offers about 15 minutes worth of interviews with the principal members of the cast and director Philipp Stölzl. Again, nothing earth shattering, but it highlights that those involved wanted to make an old-fashioned thriller rather than a fast-paced action movie.