Somewhat Similar to the film a few years back ‘Five Fingers’ we have the political thriller ‘Unthinkable’ which also touches upon the elements of torture in getting the information that is needed to save lives, with ‘Unthinkable’ being farther reaching and more encompassing that ‘Five Fingers’, and dare I say a better movie. And personally I thought that ‘Five Fingers’ was pretty good.
Yusef (Michael Sheen) has a bomb. In fact he has informed us via video tape that he has three nuclear bombs which he has strategically placed in various American cities and these bombs of his are set to go off at a determined time if his demands aren’t met. Thus the first order of business for the powers that be is to track down Yusef and this falls into the hands of the FBI Agent Helen Brody (Carrie-Ann Moss) and her team of crack field agents whose only responsibility is to handle terrorism suspects, but somehow Yusef and his dealings slipped through the cracks.
No worries though because as this thing has gone to code red, with Brody and her squad shuttled off to a top-secret army installation, Brody has found that they have tracked down Yusef and are in the process of ‘interrogating’ him. This situation also brings a man known to us as ‘H’ (Samuel L. Jackson) who our FBI agents met earlier as they were mistakenly sent a file on H and his wife Rina (Lora Kojovic) which painted the wife as a possible terror Person of Interest.
So apparently in this universe when things are at their worst and you need the information in quickest time possible you bring ‘H’ into the mix and he will get you the answers you need. Through whatever means necessary. H has also requested that Agent Brody be his assistant in this process, perhaps providing the good cop angle to his terrible gawdawful cop to further assist in getting these answers.
Just so you know how this is going to go down H introduces himself to the man called Younger, a man who used to be one of those Delta Force special forces
baddases, and now known as Yusef, by sawing off his finger. Every one is appalled by what H has done but he does possess the highest clearance to continue on his merry way to get the answers that he needs. But those answers aren’t coming to easy because Yusef has a cause and he is one tough sonofabitch. The army even doubts that the bombs he showed them are real and to that end all Agent Brody wants is for Yusef to give up one of the bombs to prove to them that he should be taken seriously.
Still, admittedly frustrated with his lack of progress despite giving Yusef everything he has, H still has a job to do. In fact, with the clock quickly counting down to zero H. may have to resort to the 'unthinkable' to get answers the he needs with millions of lives in the balance. The question would be is it right or is it wrong?
Directed by Gregor Jordan ‘Unthinkable’ is a tightly wound thriller which at times is difficult to watch, but to its credit doesn’t take an easy way out of most of the difficult situations it offers up, even though I found the ending to be somewhat contrived. In its simplest form the question that is asked would be if the murder of a completely innocent person, even if that person happens to be a child, would save millions, then do we make that happen? For the character H, very well played by Samuel L. Jackson, this isn’t even a question to be asked. For the character of Agent Brody, also played capably by Carrie-Ann Moss, she thought she knew her answer just as clearly as H knows his answer but as the story plays out her resolve begins to shake. One of the better lines in the movie occurred when Brody expounded to her superior played by Martin Donovan that what they were doing to Yusef was ‘Unconstitutional’ with the boss snapping back with the point that if those bombs detonate there will be no constitution. I imagine that statement to be true to an extent since the primary function of the government is to protect us.
Kudos to Michael Sheen for delivering a powerful performance as the character of Yusef and his ability an actor to make his characters acts of villainy and terror appear as noble and just. If this character were transformed into a Golan Globus Red Dawn type Allah spouting stereotype there would be almost no value in this film. Only by making the character of Yusef as viable and human is this film able to work as well as it does.
The story is a bit far-fetched, the filmmakers reach an awful lot in explaining how some random guy can get a hold of weapons grade plutonium, and passing off his skills as a Delta Force operative as an explanation in how he can create, all by his lonesome, a series of atomic bombs. The conclusion also seemed out of line with the way the movie was going and felt like a recycled part from many movies previous to this one. But that being said ‘Unthinkable’ was a taught, tough, well acted politically charged thriller that through dialog and situations alone, created a film that was filled with enough action and tension for two movies.