Trying to be a smart . . . observation … of the lengths to which governments/institutions will go to cover up their mistakes. Definitely illustrates a cover-up, but might not qualify as good. Or, really, all that smart.
The conspiracy is reasonably well handled. The actors fairly well coordinated in their efforts. The visuals fairly interesting. But the sum of the parts doesn’t produce a good whole.
Jim Broadbent as the Attorney General never felt quite right to me. Maybe that’s just me thinking of him as his character in Cloud Atlas, but I never accepted him as the sinister orchestrator behind this bad institutional cover-up.
Eric Bana as Martin Rose and Rebecca Hall as Claudia Simmones-Howe never quite strike the right balance. In early scenes, they are trying to distance from each other. Then they’re talking semi-buddy-buddy. Then they can’t even speak to one another in a lunchroom. (This lunchroom scene is easily the worst in the film – why can’t these characters talk to each other? Why do they hate one another so much that Martin can’t even eat at the same table as Claudia?) And so forth. A lot of that is on the writing – the characters, and their relationship – aren’t consistent enough. Part of that is on the actors. As good as the two are individually (and they are quite good – showing some emotion even though the script doesn’t provide much opportunity or space to show it), they don’t have the chemistry the film needs them to have. And, of course, part of it is probably on the director and editing, as well.
I believe conspiracies like this can happen, even if I think the individuals behind them are probably less sinister than this film makes them out to be. And I like that these two characters, Simmons-Howe and Rose, don’t conquer the world, don’t really expose the wrong-doers, don’t find justice. They just have to find their own sense of peace with the corrupt system they encounter. That makes the film feel more real.
But these characters don’t relate well enough and aren’t developed with enough complexity to really make this feature all that interesting.