This is a movie about an ex-CIA guy on the run, after his identity got pretty much erased and his former employee is after him to kill him. Sounds familiar? Well, it should, since "The Expatriate" by no means is an original movie and it 'borrows' quite a lot from some other similar and also better known genre examples.

Having said that; this movie still serves its purpose and it remains a well made one. Can't say it's a great movie but I can't say that it's ever being an horrible one. A very typical middle of the road type of flick that never really impresses with anything but at the same time it also never becomes a bore to you and it's actually a pretty entertaining watch.

I said this movie isn't being a very original one and that's certainly true for its story but it still has some original things going for it though. The settings for instance. How many thriller that you know are set in Belgium? and it's also good to see this movie features a teenage character, who also gets played by an actual teenager for a change. It's also positive she isn't being a nagging or helpless character. Normally secondary characters like her are there to help to move the story forward and a simple way to create cheap tension or to throw in one or two extra action sequences or side-plots. But I must say her character adds a lot more to this movie and it works out much better than most of the times would be the case for a movie of this sort.

There is still plenty of stuff that's keeping the movie down though. It never really becomes clear enough why the Aaron Eckhart character is such a liability and why he should be killed, according to his former employees. A 'McGuffin' sort of element could had solved this but there is never really a clear enough McGuffin in this movie and that is where the story messes things up. It tries to explain things as the story progresses but it's all a bit too muddled and it doesn't really ever work out as anything interesting enough. It also doesn't help that the movie keeps on introducing new characters, even when the movie is halfway done already, including some of its key 'villains'.

It's obvious the film-makers were going for a 'Bourne' movie type of approach, with both its style and story. Even the Jeff Danna music is quite similar to that of the 'Bourne' movies but I must say that out of all the 'Bourne' clones, this movie still works out quite well on its own and remains at all times a perfectly watchable one, that never, in a distracting way, feels too much like 'Bourne' ripoff.

A better movie than you may expect but by no means a must-see though.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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