Ghosted, by Albert W. Vogt III

The weekend after a big cinematic release is often a dud.  Last weekend, the long-awaited Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 premiered.  I, like many others, went to the theaters to see it.  What separates me from others is the fact that I try to go on a weekly basis.  Doing so means that you get familiar with all the trailers for upcoming films.  As such, when I perused the offerings for these past few days, the only new release was something called Book Club: The Next Chapter.  Now, I feel like I have a pretty good handle for what is going on in Hollywood if one can judge such things by nothing else other than what I have already said about my activities.  I saw nothing about this movie.  Heck, I have not even seen the first chapter.  Further, when I watched the trailer, it appeared to me little different than 80 for Brady, aside from being set in Italy and not at the Super Bowl.  Thus, I made the executive decision to stay in and catch up with some of the straight to streaming movies I missed, namely Ghosted.

A sad Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, Sadie Rhodes (Ana de Armas), is trying to forget the death of her friend as Ghosted begins.  She is talking to a therapist on the phone, who recommends that she take some time to herself.  That “me time,” as the silly modern saying goes, takes her to a farmer’s market outside of Washington, D.C.  Selling products there for his family’s spread is Cole Turner (Chris Evans).  He, too, is experiencing a bit of heartache, but not so much as to let Sadie’s arrival go unnoticed.  Though their initial interaction goes awkwardly, he is still able to convince her to have coffee with him.  What starts off as having a simple caffeine break together turns into an entire day walking around our nation’s capital.  Indeed, they take it into the next morning when he walks her to her front door.  Though she is not trying to get involved, and he is attempting to remain stoic, she nonetheless pulls him inside for adult time.  A few hours later he finally returns to his parents’ farm and some knowing looks on their part.  As crazy as it might seem, he believes he might have met the one.  And then he waits . . . and waits . . . and waits.  This is how we get the title of the movie because it is his sister, Mattie Turner (Lizzie Broadway), who suggests that he is being purposely ignored.  She makes this assumption based on the number of texts Cole has sent Sadie without a reply from his apparent one-day stand.  He tries his best to treat it with excuses, but the longer it goes on, the more he worries that he has blown it.  It is Cole’s mother’s (Amy Sedaris) idea that he go to London to meet her when he learns that is where she is at the moment.  She claims that it will be a romantic gesture.  Against his sister’s advice, he decides to go, tracking her through a find my inhaler app, the breathing device he forgot to retrieve from her purse.  Unfortunately, when he gets to where he believes her to be, he is instead drugged and kidnapped.  He comes to in a laboratory in Pakistan, his captors believing him to be somebody known as “The Taxman.”  According to this group, this mysterious person has the passcode to a weapon referred to as “Aztec.”  Before they can use the various stinging insects to torture information out of him that he does not possess, Sadie shows up and kills everyone around.  Thus, she is not the international art dealer he thought, but rather a trained CIA operative as her actions quickly reveal.  He is not happy to be lied to, even in the midst of their harrowing escape from the mountainous region, which involves a car chase, of course.  Though they escape, we learn that the person who is after the key is a man referred to as Leveque (Adrien Brody), an arm’s dealer who has promised to sell it to the highest bidder.  In fact, he already has the device, but he needs the right sequence to open the case in which it is kept.  He believes the Taxman to have the required information, but now thinks this person is Cole.  The real Taxman is Sadie, and she is trying to get a none too pleased Cole out of the country.  Because Leveque has put a large bounty on anyone who can bring him the Taxman, a series of mercenaries catches up to Cole and Sadie when they reach town.  Though they escape, the attempt to bring them in gives Sadie the idea to pose as a bounty hunter herself in order to retrieve Aztec.  Because Leveque believes Cole to be herself, she uses her one-time date as bait.  Unfortunately, this plan is ruined when one of Leveque’s henchmen sees a picture of Cole and Sadie during their morning between the sheets and realizes the ruse.  You see what can happen with premarital sex, kids?  Either way, it forces Cole to take drastic measures.  Grabbing a parachute and a wounded Sadie, he jumps from the airplane they are on and they land on a deserted island.  However, Leveque’s men catch up with them again, this time making off with the briefcase containing Aztec.  Back at CIA headquarters, Sadie is blamed for the failures of her mission and suspended.  At the same time, Cole is seen as a useful tool in retrieving their weapon as Leveque still believes him to be the Taxman.  Using him to lure in Leveque, they arrange yet another trap at a swanky revolving restaurant.  It all goes to pot when Leveque’s henchmen find the CIA van monitoring Cole.  Fearing for his family’s safety, Cole decides to continue with the mission.  He also hopes that Sadie will show up to save the day.  His patience pays off, and together they are able to take care of Leveque and reacquire Aztec.  This is apparently enough for them to continue their relationship, though with Sadie maintaining her position with the CIA.

There are some fun moments in Ghosted, though it is pretty standard fare.  The best is when Sadie is trying to get Cole out of Pakistan, and they are accosted by a series of bounty hunters.  Two of them are played by Evans’ co-stars from his run in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as Captain America, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan.  Mackie has taken up the iconic shield, while Stan played Captain America’s long time best friend Bucky Barnes.  There is another Marvel cameo when Ryan Reynolds shows up at the end as another of Sadie’s physically deformed ex-boyfriends.  This is a running gag in the movie.  What I find interesting about these appearances is what I have heard from other actors and actresses that have been in the MCU.  I have said this in my reviews of those films, particularly recently, but it is my understanding that a lot of them are ready to move on with their careers.  As such, I think it is no mistake that Evans plays a man who is a stranger to violence.  At the same time, Reynolds excluded, it also seems that the friendships forged by so many years of working together means they cannot resist being in each other’s post MCU films.  Mind you, this is not a complaint.  As I said, it was fun to see these little reunions.  They will always have the MCU.

There were also some themes in Ghosted that hit me personally.  I have been the victim of such social practices as the title suggests, if “victim” is the right word.  It is also something that I have never done to another person.  As such, I identified with Cole.  He strikes me as an earnest person, and that is a quality I admire.  There are a number of social rules about dating that I have never fully understood, which might be why I never got married.  Faith does not follow those guidelines.  Our relationship with God should be completely open and honest, even if there is nothing that can be kept secret from Him.  Put differently, God does not mind several texts in a row from a person, even if they get increasingly desperate.  The problem that many run into, unfortunately, is deciphering a response from God.  This can only come from deepening your relationship with Him.  Our interactions with God are not like what you see between Cole and Sadie.  The goal is to get to the point where you can see His will more clearly.  Cole and Sadie have an unspoken connection because the scriptwriters can make it so.  In real life, a situation like this one is unlikely to happen.  Of course, there have been instances where people meet and after a day or two they get married, going on to live long and happy lives together.  Even so, I can all but guarantee that it took them time to build the kind of communication and trust that you see in the film.  Ultimately, this is what God wants from us, too: communication and trust.  The movie just shows it in a different format.

I suppose there is nothing wrong with watching Ghosted, even if it is standard in its action scenes and pretty modern in its take on relationships.  In short, I have seen worse.  I have also seen better.  Either way, if any of this appeals to you, it is currently on Apple TV.


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