A Review of ‘Protocol 7’: This corporate thriller has more talk than thrill

A trio of professionals find themselves in amid a possible medical corporate conspiracy.

Jul 1, 2024 - 15:07
Jul 1, 2024 - 20:39
A Review of ‘Protocol 7’: This corporate thriller has more talk than thrill

‘Protocol 7’: This whistle-blowing tale makes some right noises

Cast: Rachel Whittle, Matthew Marsden, R. Brandon Johnson, Josh Murray, Eric Roberts, Alec Rayme, Harrison Tipping, Christopher Robert Scott, Emmy Robbin, Maggie Baer, Brady Box, Jen Brown, Keturah Brown, Heather Cazes, D’Ann Connelly, Mike Gassaway, Woody Wilson Hall, Ginger Joy, Carla Kidd

Critic’s Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Director: Andrew Wakefield

Duration: 1 hours, 38 minutes

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Language: English    

Release: 2024

What’s it about?

A trio of professionals find themselves amidst a possible medical corporate conspiracy.

Review:

Viewers are in for a subtle and mildly engaging thriller in this story of the aggrieved individual going after a mighty corporation in a quest for justice and safety. Protocol 7, which is based on a true story, makes an incisive statement that nefarious power should be confronted regardless of the cost and risk involved.  But this has to be done in an astute manner, where professional people put their heads together and strategise an offensive. While this film may fall short of being consistently compelling and some of the medical jargon is a tad off-putting for the lay person, this is still a watchable film. What’s more, it is the public’s interest.

The movie opens with a corporate bigwig (Eric Roberts) meeting two of his subordinates (Alec Rayme and Harrison Tipping) over concerns about a vaccine product that is under scrutiny. Meanwhile, Dr. Adrian Jay, an unsuccessful whistle-blower, has been invited to deliver a lecture on Austism. On the sidelines of the event, a mysterious man (Josh Murray) approaches him with potentially incendiary information. The visitor wants Dr. Jay’s help with carrying the situation forwards but insists keeping his name out of it. A reluctant Dr. Jay then meets a Family Law advocate Alexis Koprowski (Rachel Whittle) who explains her desire to investigate the vaccine-producing company that has left her adopted son Ishal (Christopher Robert Scott) with chronic mumps. 

Dr. Jay explains the vaccine testing process to Alexis and how it can be tweaked for the wrong reasons. Using data that his secretive acquaintance has handed him, the good doctor tries to decode what the man’s employer – Mearcks firm – is up to. The guy in question - Steve Schilling - turns out to be a laboratory scientist who is in dilemma whether to follow orders from the higher-ups or expose a clandestine scheme. Meanwhile, the whole mission of the investigative trio hinges on what additional proof of malfeasance Schilling can garner. Meanwhile Alexis is up against opposition from unexpected sources.

To reveal more of the plot would be giving away too much, needless to say that a conflict is in the offing. Will Alexis we able to use her counselling know-how to confront her adversaries? Or is the poor lady up against a stacked deck? Whose side will the governmental Food and Drug Association (FDA) take in this tense scenario? And will the available evidence prove incriminating enough? What is at stake for the imperilled Shilling and how promising is Dr. Jay’s knowledge and presence? The film ends on both a sinister and hopeful note, but keeps the audience guessing as to whether corporate machinations are too overwhelming for the public to put the brakes on.

The star of the show is definitely Whittle, who nails her composite role of determined counsellor, troubled mother and smiling legal assassin. However, director and co-writer - Andrew Wakefield, is only able to generate a modest amount of suspense, with some scenes guilty of turning more verbose than action-packed. This makes the screenplay drag. The theme and well-populated cast keep the film on course, although the pace often falters. Movie buffs might be reminded of the 1999 Al Pacino-Russell Crowe starrer The Insider, although this film doesn’t boast quite the amount of star power or zest. There's just about enough in Protocol 7 to keep the audience empathising with the characters and relating to the crisis. Concerning the overall efficacy of this film, as the epilogue states: “You are the Jury”! For us, it's only a midly engrossing corporate thriller that could have packed a lot more punch. 

Ronak Kotecha Senior Journalist and seasoned content creator with 18-years-experience at channels like Times Now, NewsX, Zoom and Radio City. Now, Rotten Tomatoes accredited global critic for the Times of India and BBC India Correspondent in Dubai. Talk show host at Talk100.3, tune in weekdays at 11 am on talk1003.ae