Thursday, April 21, 2011

Unthinkable

NetFlix
IMDB
My Rating: 7/10  

A good thriller for challenging your brain and morals. That unreadable tagline up there says, "Right and wrong no longer exist" This is a star-filled big budget movie that got yanked from distribution and exiled to direct-to-DVD, probably because its content would absolutely wig the average American out of his freaking mind, given the challenges it asserts to typical "tough guy" talk about terrorism.

In brief - Homegrown US Muslim extremist & family man was formerly a trained Delta Force ranger overseas. He has managed to smuggle in and plant three crude nuclear bombs in three unknown US cities, to be detonated in a few days. Carrie-Anne Moss plays the FBI team leader called in to run the investigation trying to find the bombs, until she is roped into serving as "good cop" to professional CIA interrogator Sam Jackson, a guy so frightening in his methods that the US government won't admit he exists, at least until he's needed. With the threat of nuclear devastation hanging over everyone, Jackson is assigned to torture the bomb locations out of the bad guy.

The entire movie is tense and morally challenging. Someone on IMDB described it as torture porn but it really isn't, not in the Saw/Hostel sense. You see some occasional nasty & shocking bits but mostly it's done in cut-aways, ie, you don't SEE fingers being chopped off with an axe, you cut up to onlookers' horrified eyes. It's a constant seesaw of limits - At the start, Jackson is willing to do anything required to get the info from the prisoner, but is continually reigned in by the other agents. As time runs out, the others become increasingly desperate and find their morals dropping like a drunk cougar's panties, while Jackson becomes gradually more appalled at the actions he's forced to resort to. The focus is on the characters outside the interrogation room and how they adapt their morals to the changing crisis, instead of being all about watching some guy get chopped up.

Good movie, and a good example of how flexible morality can be given the circumstances. 




Suggested Accompaniment: If you even try smoking during this one, you're likely to burn your pipe out.  Probably would go well with a cigar, though, given that it's all about the secret cabals of power brokers determining our fate, and we all know they love cigars.  A glass of Drambuie wouldn't go down ill, either.