Erased aka The Expatriate (2012)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Erased</strong> aka <strong class="MovieTitle">The Expatriate</strong> (2012)

(On Cable TV, February 2014) The prototypical thriller follows a familiar formula, but that’s no excuse to make a film as immediately forgettable as Erased. From the get-go, we are served well-worn elements: the highly-competent hero with a shady past, the woman to protect, the betrayal that upends everything that the hero knows and sends him on the run… In a few minutes, Erased sets its expectations downward and keeps them there. The bland European scenery doesn’t add much, and the progression of the plot to the hero turning the tables against the conspirators isn’t handled with any wit or freshness. It’s not as if formula by itself is bad: there are countless examples of dull premises made interesting by competent execution. But Erased doesn’t have that. Aaron Eckhart (a much better actor than most of the roles he plays) is stuck without much to do except look tough and run fast. (His transformation from super-geek to ex-CIA operative is a bit abrupt, although it’s the kind of stuff allowed on principle in thrillers, otherwise the result would be far less interesting.) In a word, Erased is dull and (ironically) instantly forgettable. It’s not actively bad or unpleasant, but it quickly blurs between what seems to be a countless number of films all telling pretty much the same story.

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