On the Run
Teenagers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but those annoying stereotypes that can ruin a film. The latest case in point? Erased, a thriller starring Aaron Eckhart as an ex-CIA agent on the run with his estranged teenage daughter, played by Liana Liberato. Poor Liana, she has to make Amy -- her character -- look like a whiny, argumentative, ungrateful daughter during most of the film’s running time. Why? It must be the rules now. Who wants to watch a reasonable, patient, understanding 15-year-old character in an action flick? Me, for one. And I don’t think I’m alone feeling this way.
Granted, there’s plenty for Amy to be upset about. Her father Ben just happens to be in a covert profession requiring behavior that’s hard to explain to anyone, let alone his own family. And when Amy leaves her grandfather to live with her expatriate dad in Belgium, she finds herself in a strange new world. It turns more than strange one day when she and Ben drop by his office to pick up something. They are shocked to discover that all trace of the company has been erased, and Ben soon realizes he and Amy have been targeted for elimination. So the cat-and-mouse game begins! Amy and Ben try to evade the villains who are after them. They run and hide through various Belgian towns while Ben tries to figure out the what and why of their deadly situation. Which explains why this dad has little time to bond with his belligerent daughter.
Yes, the plot of Erased has excellent thriller potential -- but the dysfunctional father/daughter angle interferes with what I expect from this genre. Although the movie boasts more than enough violent hand-to-hand combat and suspenseful gunplay sequences, I kept dreading the painful interactions between Amy and Ben. Both Eckhart (Thank You for Smoking) and Liberato (The Last Sin Eater) are fine actors, so don’t blame them -- although I think the always watchable Eckhart looks a bit too gaunt for this role. Liberato comes across as a young actress to watch in the future. She’s photogenic and shows the ability to project a wide range of emotion. However, in the acting department, Olga Kurylenko (To the Wonder) seems wasted as Ben’s CIA handler here.
Regarding production values, too many images come across as kind of fuzzy and dark, which is another annoying movie trend. Still, Erased isn’t a total waste of time. Many viewers who love a mystery will probably become involved in trying to solve the puzzle of why Ben and all his co-workers appear never to have existed. That part of the film definitely intrigued me, so I believe other thriller fans may overlook the teen stereotype and enjoy Erased.
(Released by RADiUS-TWC and rated “R” for violence.)
For more information about Erased, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.