In the wake of a great personal tragedy, people respond differently
to grief. Sometimes it depends
on whether there's any guilt involved, secret or otherwise.
Some people want to start a campaign to help other victims.
Some people retreat into themselves.
Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) was one of those.
She was supposed to be on that plane, with the rest of her
family---her father, mother, and two siblings, but she, in a moment of
pique, decided not to go. They
went without her. And they all
died in the crash.
Stephanie is beyond devastated.
Formerly a top student at Oxford, now she's on drugs, and hooking
to support her habit. She's a
mess, and headed downhill quickly, seemingly hell-bent on joining the rest
of her family. Then one day a
“john” says he just wants to talk.
He says he knows who she is. He
claims he's an investigative journalist, and he's concluded that the
airplane crash was no accident; there was a bomb.
But for some reason, the authorities are covering that up.
Would Stephanie like to know more about it?
At first, no. She's too
stoned and wallowing in a stupor of self-loathing to care about anything.
But something brings her out of the fog long enough to find out a
little bit about what he knows, including a mysterious contact in
Inverness. It's there that she
meets a former MI6 agent (Jude Law) who never even bothers to introduce
himself. But he does bother to
put her through some rigorous training.
If she's really serious about wanting to investigate, she better be
prepared for some rough treatment.
He's not wrong. Stephanie
finds herself wandering deeper into a dark labyrinth of spies, secrets,
shady intermediaries, and desperate people who will gladly shoot first and
ask questions later. She
doesn't learn everything at once. She
hesitates a couple of times when she shouldn't, and she pays dearly for
But there's good reason for her to pause and reflect on who she's
becoming. It hits her when she
sees children—--she's getting farther and farther removed from their
naivete and innocence. She's
reaching inside herself to find reservoirs of that coldest, most
calculating form of hate, revenge.
Based on the book by Mark Burnell, the substantial plot keeps the
viewer careening through Stephanie's dark metamorphosis.
It isn't pretty. But it
is riveting, like staring at a train wreck.
And it's about as subtle.