Apple TV+’s latest offering is, apparently, something of a record breaker. The first two days saw 328,500 people watching Ghosted. Obviously that’s chicken feed compared to something like Avengers: Endgame but in the world of non-theatrical releases it is, apparently, quite a big deal. That’s way more than the first two days of other highly viewed Apple TV+ films including Finch at 228,500, Spirited at 174,000 Tetris at 88,000 and My Mind & Me at 78,100. Also they say that the completion rate is around 20% above average. So why has it proven to be so popular and is it any good?
First off, why is it so popular? My guess that it starts with the cast list. A quick look tells you that the cast has graced franchises based on Star Trek, Doctor Who, James Bond, Star Wars, the DCEU, and, most obviously the MCU. The leads are Chris Evans as Cole Turner and Ana de Armas as Sadie Rhodes; this is the third outing for them after Knives Out and The Grey Man. They do seem to work well together but it was very nearly a reunion of a different flavour…Scarlett Johansson was originally cast as Sadie. That would have been nine films together before you look outside the MCU!
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Excuse Me For Fudging A Few Details
The main bad guy is played by five times Wes Anderson collaborator Adrian Brody. After that the other big names are seen in cameos: Anthony Mackie, John Cho, and Sebastian Stan play competing bounty hunters, Burn Gorman plays a London cabbie, and Ryan Reynolds has a very amusing turn as, about, 87% of Sadie’s ex. Trust me, see the scene and it’ll make sense! Other known faces include Tate Donovan and Amy Sedaris as Cole’s parents. There’s also a cameo for director Dexter Fletcher whose acting pedigree goes back to Bugsy Malone.
So those are the faces. What’s the story? Ultimately it is boy meets girl. They are daggers drawn on first meeting but, seconds later, they start to fall for each other. They get along well but then he starts to bombard her with texts and emojis. She finds this behaviour a little overwhelming, as predicted by his sister (Lizze Broadway), and she “ghosts” him. Hence the title. Due to an entirely innocent reason (more on that later) she has his inhaler and, because he loses everything, there is an AirTag in it. He sees that she’s in London and flies out to surprise her.
That’s What Serial Killers Do
When he gets there the story really starts up. He gets mistaken for a CIA operative known as “The Taxman” and gets drugged and abducted. Waking up he finds himself about to be tortured in a Pakistani cave. In the nick of time he gets rescued by none other than The Taxman who turns out to be, surprise surprise…Sadie! Well, it would be a surprise if you’ve never seen something like Knight And Day. It is, basically, the same story but with the genders swapped. The rest of the film revolves around the different factions struggling for control of the MacGuffin, Aztec.
Which brings me back to the second question…is it any good? Ultimately it was a reasonable action film. Ana de Armas showed in No Time To Die that she can handle fight sequences in an evening gown; the trick seems to be have a split three quarters of the way up the thigh. The main drawback is the entitled male trope. He wants her, she’s not so keen, he persists, she gives in. It’s sold as being romantic. If the genders were swapped at this point we’d be looking at Fatal Attraction…when men do it, it’s romantic but, when women do it, it’s psychotic. At one point he shouts “You got me kidnapped and tortured all after one date!” Errm, no she didn’t! That smacks a little of coercive control to me…
Movie Grade: B+
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!