Film - An Acceptable Loss


The truth is a moving target as Steve Taylor-Bryant watched An Acceptable Loss...

Former top U.S. security adviser Elizabeth "Libby" Lamm (Tika Sumpter) is threatened by associates from her dark past including Rachel Burke (Jamie Lee Curtis), a steely, commanding politician with an unwavering knack for achieving her goals. Colluding with Rachel is Adrian, an unyielding, patriotic chief of staff. Martin (Tavassoli) harbors another type of obsession with Libby in this story of betrayal and regret.

Known in some territories as The Pages, An Acceptable Loss promised much but failed to deliver on most of it, which is quite apt when it’s about the involvement of politicians and people of power. The problem you have when you write a story about an ex-aide to a powerful politician, in this case a security adviser and a Vice President with eyes on the big office, is that it’s all be done before so it’s very difficult to bring something new to the table.

An Acceptable Loss tries, two wonderful women in the main roles is certainly a new take and Jamie Lee Curtis is certainly very believable as the power hungry Rachel. She is one of the few people who come out of this film untainted, she is magnificent, nailing ruthlessness with aplomb, and the highlight of An Acceptable Loss. The other lead star is Tika Sumpter who I know is a very good actress but is given such a bad role here I don’t think anyone could have done much with it. If an ex-aide is going to be paranoid and scared, they would still keep some kind of public strength to them, but Libby comes across as damaged too much and that’s a real shame because I think Sumpter could have been great if she’d had something, anything, to get her teeth into. But even this isn’t the biggest problem, it’s the pacing and amount of time spent on screen with nothing going on. It just drags.

What An Acceptable Loss feels like is a very good episode of Scandal mixed with an average episode of House of Cards and, if this was a television special running at about an hour, it would have been great, familiar but great. However, this television episode of what’s been done better elsewhere is 1 hour 42 minutes long, so about 3/4 of an hour of the film is wasted with nothing at all happening.

I was excited when I saw the premise, this is the kind of thing I lap up usually, I was full of pleasure at the thought of Jamie Lee Curtis taking on a complex political animal, but I was let down massively by pacing issues and generic writing. If you want to see Jamie Lee Curtis be great then give it a go but there is no other reason to waste your time with it.

Follow Steve on Twitter @STBwrites

Image - The Movie Partnership

An Acceptable Loss will be available on Digital Download from July 15