December 10, 2018 at 10:00 AM EST

In the political thriller An Acceptable Loss (out Jan. 18), Tika Sumpter plays a former government official named Libby Lamm who finds herself a target when she contemplates revealing the secrets that led to a decisive but controversial military victory.

“She made a decision that affected a lot of people’s lives,” says Sumpter, whose previous acting credits include Southside With You and Ride Along. “She helped create a lie, basically, that killed lots and lots of people. She was promised all these things afterward, and she didn’t want them, because she felt killing innocent people is the biggest sin you can commit.”

Jamie Lee Curtis portrays Rachel Burke, a political veteran who signed off on the military action.

“Rachel is a patriot and she believes that, as she says in the movie, the point of a deterrent is that your enemies know that you are prepared to use it,” says the Halloween actress. “She’s not someone who is afraid to obfuscate the facts a little in order to make her point felt, which she does in a very big way. She’s a fairly unsavory person and a dangerous person.”

An Acceptable Loss is written and directed by Joe Chappelle (Fringe, The Wire).

“The script was clearly written by someone who was very concerned about the [2016] election and this was his response,” says Curtis. “I thought it was written well and it was, as I would like to say, about something. It had serious thought in the content of the piece and I was happy to participate.”

An Acceptable Loss will be released in theaters and on VOD Jan. 18 by IFC Films. The movie also stars Ben Tavassoli and Jeff Hephner.

Watch an exclusive trailer for the film above.

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