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July 18, 2013

On DVD/Blu-ray – Review: Erased (2012)

by NIR SHALEV

Erased (2012)

Ex-CIA agent Ben Logan (Aaron Eckhart) lives and works in Belgium for the private sector. His current job requires him to come up with techniques of breaking into any type of locking mechanism and security system. He works for an important firm and is very well paid. His daughter Amy (Liana Liberato) also lives with him, but she’s only there part time because he divorced his wife a while back.

One day, Ben comes to work to find that the office is entirely devoid of life and furniture. It’s as if no one had ever set foot in there. He checks with the building management and they claim that his company had never existed, let alone rented space there. He checks with his bank and they claim that he’d never deposited a single check. Curious…. Ben decides to investigate the matter and the reasons behind why his company has not only disappeared but never even existed in the first place. He drags his daughter with him everywhere that he goes, for safety purposes, and soon he is being shot at by an unknown assailant.

All of this seems generic, and at first it is. But with performance power like Eckhart’s I was with it. I wanted to know why he was betrayed and more importantly, why I should stick around him and his unfortunate daughter. Well, as the film progresses we take note that while employed by the CIA, Ben wasn’t a paper pusher. Gradually we uncover that Ben is more than capable of taking care of himself and dispatching his enemies with ease but is unable to do so because his daughter is always around. It becomes apparent that Ben is willing to be cut, stabbed, and even shot just so his daughter doesn’t know what he used to do for a living and that’s he’s more than capable of killing. He simply pretends to be an unlucky, average person and keeps up that guise as long as he can.

Throughout the second and third acts of the film important plot details are revealed to the audience, through Ben’s point of view (as it should be when it comes to telling a story through a character’s point of view), and we begin to piece the true conspiracy together.

Like I’d previously mentioned, Eckhart is a good actor and here he’s very good. Olga Kurylenko also appears in the film but as a criminally underwritten character. That’s a shame.

The screenplay isn’t Oscar-worthy but it does a thorough job of entertaining the audience throughout and the concept of Ben’s duplicitous nature is ever so fascinating. The fact that he is willing to keep up the charade no matter what the odds against him are, just so he can keep his daughter in the dark and innocent is a brilliant move. It’s a breath of fresh air when it comes to these European shot “Americanized” action films. I can’t say that I’ve seen that happen in many films and as a matter of fact, I can’t honestly can’t think of any.

The film’s initial trailer made Erased look like a Taken (2008) clone and I was kind of hoping that it was because Taken 2 (2012) is a terrible film. I was hoping that Erased would be a worthy sequel to Taken but was terrifically surprised to find that it’s a far more intelligent thriller than either Taken film. Definitely watch Erased. It’s a good thriller, it makes sense, Eckhart is very good in it, and his character is fascinating. He is the epitome of a father figure and it’s not only the strongest part of the film, but also its driving force. This film is more than worth the rental price.

It looks like the only extra is a making-of short feature.

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