When the life insurance company he’s working for is about to be acquired by another firm, actuary Wes (Dan McGlaughlin) finds himself falling into a rabbit hole of corporate intrigue, with just a smidgen of science fiction thrown in for good measure. During the routine checks on the company prior to acquisition by acquiring company employee Darci (Patricia Mizen), strange facts are revealed; turns out Wes’ company has an unusually low payout rate, due to a habit of cancelling policies just prior to the death of many of their policy holders. More than just dumb luck, or market research, the company’s uncanny ability to predict a policy holder’s death raises more than a few red flags, and when Wes’ father’s insurance policy is cancelled, Wes becomes even more invested in finding out the truth.
If you had told me that I was about to sit down to watch a mystery thriller about a life insurance company, I probably would’ve been dubious that such a scenario could lend itself to much action or suspense. To its credit, Assumption of Risk does manage to create a film that really moves, with just enough sci-fi involved to keep you interested beyond the corporate conspiracy elements.
That said, it doesn’t mean the film is always successful. For one, you know where the film is going relatively early on, and there aren’t that many twists or turns to make you think otherwise. In that sense, it is good that the pace has some momentum, because if it were to linger too much then the film’s predictability would be its undoing. Here it’s more a feeling of, “okay, let’s move on” that is noticeable, but not crippling to the experience.
The acting here is solid, though not spectacular. Dan McGlaughlin’s Wes carries most of the film, as you can imagine, and he does the job well enough. There weren’t any moments where he felt false, though his interest in the company’s low payout rate seems to peak too early. I also wouldn’t have minded more elements with Bill Chemerka’s Brensen Tol, who owns the company, quite aware of his mortality as he tries desperate measures to elude death (a subplot that allows for the appearance of Frankie Faison, another actor who I wouldn’t mind seeing more of).
Ultimately, Assumption of Risk does a good job of delivering an interesting enough mystery tale about a life insurance company with a dubious leg-up on the competition. Elements don’t always gel perfectly, but the film wraps up in satisfying fashion. This film could’ve gone wrong in many different ways, but it sidesteps the majority of these potential pitfalls by keeping the momentum up.
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