Unthinkable: Right and Wrong No Longer Exist (2010)

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Drama, Thriller

After a religious conversion to Islam, an American bombs expert releases a video showing three nondescript rooms in three major cities with a threat of detonating them if his demands are not met. Although he is quickly detained by the CIA and FBI, Steven Arthur Younger is not talking. Black Ops interrogator H. is brought in to use unusually cruel methods to extract the bomb locations and the terrorist’s demands. Agent Helen Brody proves to be a moral conscience for the investigation, but Younger appears to resist even the most unethical methods of torture.

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson (Henry Harold Humphries), Carrie-Anne Moss (Agent Helen Brody), Michael Sheen (Steven Arthur Younger), Stephen Root (Charles Thompson), Lora Kojovic (Rina Humphries), Martin Donovan (Assistant Director Jack Saunders), Gil Bellows (Agent Vincent), Brandon Routh (Agent DJ Jackson), Vincent Laresca (Agent Leandro)

Samuel L. Jackson’s presence in this film is intense. He appears to show no remorse for the acts he commits to extract information, but as the film continues, he slowly seems to both break down and get more desperate to ruin the terrorist’s plans. Carrie-Anne Moss serves as the moral pillar for the operation and represents humanity in a sea of primal rage and cruelty. She also represents the reaction of someone with a strong moral center being pushed to the limit. Playing the role of the terrorist, Michael Sheen represents what many Americans fear about terrorist organizations. While his character is taken through significantly dreadful torture techniques, he maintains a presence that prevents the viewer from ever developing sympathy for his behavior.

The most controversial element of this film is the issue of torture. H. uses methods including water boarding, chopping off a finger, starvation, electrocution and threats to his family. Most Americans would at least be mortified or disturbed by the tortures used but the threat of the death of millions represented in the film could change some people’s views of similar situations. This movie represents the dilemma of the torture/death of one to save millions. Could you make the choice if the pressure of saving millions of lives was your decision? Brody’s struggles with agreeing and allowing the other agencies to use H.’s tactics provides a gripping story from beginning to end.

Knowing little about this film, the immediate move to use torture near the beginning of the film was captivating. Some gripping performances makes for a solid terrorism thriller.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5

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