If it wasn’t for the misdirected political plot, An Acceptable Loss would be an okay drama/thriller to please the masses.
This review of An Acceptable Loss contains minor spoilers.
Because films are films, I usually suspend my disbelief; it is just fiction, is the crux of the matter. Some movies, however, I cannot ignore the general premise. I remember when Arrival came out, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and my friend had a significant issue with elements of the plot. An Acceptable Loss deterred my interest due to absolute waffle in the plot direction.
The acting, the camera work and the general quality of the movie are fine, but unfortunately, I was not accepting the issues aimed at the lead character Libby (Tika Sumpter). She is an ex-Top Security Adviser for the U.S Government, and while she was in office, she gave data to the President on top targets in Syria. Her data gathering was an opportune moment of “peace” in the eyes of the Vice-President, so a nuclear bomb was dropped on a city to wipe out all the targets, causing generations of families to be wiped out.
Now, I understand what An Acceptable Loss is aiming for; Joe Chappelle‘s movie is a political “f**k you” to the American administrations before us that try and solve the threat to peace by dropping drone strikes left, right and center, with statistical regard for innocent civilians nearby. Libby joins a University to deliver lectures to students about war, and there is a lot of hatred shown towards her, especially by Martin (Ben Tavassoli) whose family was killed by the bomb. The story moves quite slowly to the objective, where Libby is threatened by the Government about her upcoming memoir and has to team up with Martin to secure the truth.
But here is the problem: why is Libby the center of hatred in the movie? Surely it would be the President and Vice President who would be blamed for the decision to drop a nuclear bomb? Libby conveys many memories in the movie that show she was just a pawn in the administration, providing data and ways to defeat the enemy, but that’s all she was: a pawn. Libby spends most of the movie with certain individuals getting highly emotional with her, comparing the character to Nazi war criminals, forcing her to break down. By the way, the Vice President is now campaigning for election in the present day, and no-one seems to be angry at her.
Maybe I didn’t enjoy the movie, or perhaps I need to relax when it comes to premises, however, if An Acceptable Loss chooses to be politically based on our current landscape, then I expect the film to provide realism; it works hand in hand. When Donald Trump dropped the ‘mother of all bombs’ in 2017, were his advisers harassed in the street, or was all the blame aimed at him? When Theresa May fails to push through a Brexit deal in Parliament, is she accused, or are the MPs or the voters who opted for it in the first place?
So if you add in the nonsense, An Acceptable Loss is an average thriller drama, with the character highly paranoid, and then on the run with someone she did not initially trust. It’s okay, I guess.