The movie trailer. It’s the video “cover” you’re not supposed to judge a movie by. But sometimes a movie trailer gets it all exactly right–setting the correct expectation with viewers without over-hyping or over-emphasizing only the best parts of the film it is promoting. Take the trailer for Aaron Eckhart’s Erased as an example.
From the beginning, Erased (originally titled The Expatriate, but renamed for the U.S. release) appeared to be a blend of a summer action flick like The Bourne Identity (with Eckhart playing an ex-CIA agent on the run), the Robert Redford espionage thriller Three Days of the Condor (where one day all his co-workers turn up dead and his world upside down), and Liam Neeson’s Taken, since he has to protect his little girl along the way. Eckhart’s role also seemed to echo that of Ben Affleck’s role in Eckhart’s prior film Paycheck, since he appeared to create some future technology that leaves him to unravel what happened to his stolen life. Well, what you see is what you get. And it’s all very satisfying.
Aaron Eckhart is an under-rated lead. If you put aside the dud that was I, Frankenstein, Eckhart delivers an emotional performance every time. As adman Nick Naylor trying to save big tobacco in the brilliant Thank You for Smoking, as the guy that had us all wearing “I Believe in Harvey Dent” badges after his performance as Two-Face in The Dark Knight, after his almost unrecognizable performance opposite Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich. And as the vile mastermind opposite Ben Affleck in the superb Philip K. Dick adaptation Paycheck. With Erased, a flick with a botched release schedule back in 2012 and 2013, he could have had his break-out role.