The Expatriate is a 2012 thriller starring Aaron Eckhart as an ex-CIA operative now stationed in Belgium. This looked like a sleeper hit that didn’t get any recognition, and with that premise I started watching it. So far, so good, we got a nice classic setup pretty much similar to Taken and its predecessors as we follow Ben Logan (Aaron) and his rebellious teenage daughter go through one of their usual days. There is something mystical about European-set thrillers that just gets me, those immensely old and well maintained buildings, the cleanliness of the streets and exotic vibe are just so mesmerizing…

Ben is now employed by a huge conglomerate Halgate and working for one of their subsidiary companies as a security engineer. His job is to try to get pass security protocols, fool the eye scanners and break into safes, all of which sounds interesting enough. What he doesn’t know that there is a huge conspiracy surrounding his employer and that soon he and his daughter will become a subject in a manhunt. Targeted for termination by a company with seemingly unlimited recourses, they only have one choice: get to the bottom of this conspiracy in a hope that it will save their lives. Since this a thriller I don’t wanna spoil your viewing experience so this is it as far as plot is concerned.

After he defeated aliens in Battle Los Angeles Aaron seemed pretty confident in his role as an bad-ass ex-CIA operative, but this is were the complaints about those little things start. While we later find out that he’s trained in combat, he’s initially presented as a smarty-geeky engineer; so he must be the worlds deadliest man combining both the brains and the brawn (still, an awesome performance by Aaron). While the main three characters are pretty well developed, the rest of them are cardboard cutouts with only one purpose: to say/do their thing to help the story going forward. It would be nice to see more elaborate story and  more character-oriented, but it seems that the writer only had a general idea with the rest of the story working itself, without much thinking.

In summary, this isn’t the best thriller this year, but it sure is a damn fine viewing, especially if you like the genre. With good production values and that sleek look that blockbusters have it will definitely entertain you.

Director: Philipp Stölzl

Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Liana Liberato, Olga Kurylenko, Garrick Hagon, Alexander Fehling, Neil Napier

Fun Facts:  The police officer shown in the central train station of Antwerp is wearing a bulletproof vest with the text “ZPZ 5339”, which is the zone code for the police zone of Brussels Capital and not the one of Antwerp. (Wow, this is so interesting, please tell us more about police zones!!!)

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IMDb Link:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1645155/

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