New To DVD: ExPatriot (2018) - Reviewed

When ExPatriot begins, we see a CIA analyst (played by Valerie Kane) smuggle out information on a surveillance program to share with the media. Her conscience has pushed her to break the law and expose what she thinks is unwarranted surveillance. 

A montage featuring this smuggling incorporates actual media coverage of pundits discussing this issue, lending an element of verisimilitude to the story. One blurb by Special Counsel Robert Mueller adds some serious gravitas to this montage, bringing up memories of people like Chelsea Manning who leaked other sensitive information. 

The film doesn’t explore these issues, though, and drops the potential to explore this extremely relevant act of protest. Instead, analyst Riley Connors (Kane) gets swept up into an international operation that’s all too familiar. A cliche script recycles plots from other similar films and also takes away from the potential depth of this story. 

However, a few highlights still exist in this short, 97-minute film. Columbian production company Caracon Televisión finds solid locations to use as a backdrop for this story, including a climax at the Cristo Rey statue, high above Bogota. Other scenes utilize the close quarters of Bogota city streets for chase scenes with an authentic feel. 

Another highlight is actor Valerie Kane, whose acting range was expertly demonstrated on the BBC series The Fall, where she played a woman who nearly looses her life to a serial killer. 

In ExPatriot, she does her best to elevate a flat script through the small amount of character development she’s given. When Riley gets roped into infiltrating a Columbian business with large sums of gambling money that catches the attention of the CIA, she works to exude a confident cool expected of an operative instead of the quietness of an analyst. 

Old spy and international intrigue clichés abound as the plot moves forward, leaving not as much screen time for character development and exploration of relationships. If more time were given to flesh out the relationships between Kane, her CIA counterparts and the Columbian businessmen, the heft of the various deceptions would carry more weight. 

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One brief scene later in the film returns to the idea of Riley’s information leaking being heroic, providing a little more hope of this issue being explored more. However, the well-worn plot picks up again, leaving this issue behind and spoiling the potential this film has. 

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-Eric Beach