By Scott Tibbs, October 16, 2012
Unthinkable (starring Samuel L. Jackson as HHH and Carrie-Anne Moss as Agent Brody) could have been a good movie, but making it heavy on anti-American propaganda at the expense of a good story ruined it. Because this was a terrilble movie, I will spoil it. You have been warned.
We start with Steven Arthur Younger making a video revealing that he has made nuclear weapons and issuing demands to the U.S. government. First, the premise is nonsensical. The idea that a single individual is going to make four nuclear weapons, by himself in his basement, is silly. This kind of plot device is best used as a joke, such as when Steve Urkel made a nuclear bomb in a dream sequence on the ABC sitcom Family Matters twenty years ago.
So Younger intentionally allows himself to be captured. He shoots a police officer and then goes to a shopping mall, where he stands in front of a security camera before he is finally picked up by security. Why would he allow himself to be captured? Because he knows that America really is the Great Satan and that he will be brutally tortured. As Agent Helen Brody said, he wanted to prove that we really are what we profess not to be. Wow, that was subtle.
So we go through multiple torture scenes, although I do appreciate that the movie did not go all out with gore and become yet another Saw knockoff. Many of the worst things are either in shadow or they happen off-screen. As we approach the deadline, we need to find out where the nuclear weapons are, so the torture becomes worse. Then Younger's wife is brought in to be tortured in front of him. The others will not allow him to torture Mrs. Younger, so HHH murders her in front of him.
In an especially classy move, HHH suggests giving in to Younger's demands, suggesting that the American people would agree with him. Do I even need to get into why this is offensive? Why did this even need to be in the movie at all? (Of course, we all know why it was there.)
As the clock ticks away and the time when the bombs will detonate moves ever closer, HHH decides he must do the"unthinkable." (Name drop! Ha!) He brings in Younger's children, locks himself in the interrogation room with them, and prepares to torture them too.
OK, this is ridiculous. We have an obviously deranged sadist who has already beaten a fellow soldier to a pulp and murdered an innocent woman to make Younger fear him. Are we to believe that he would actually be allowed to lock himself in the torture chamber with Younger's children when even the other American agents are concerned that he actually will torture those children? Of course we are to believe this nonsense. After all, this movie's entire premise is that America is the Great Satan.
This is where the movie went off the cliff. It was not just HHH who wants to torture the children, it was a high-level government official who is determined to stop the nuclear bombs from exploding. The others have no problem with terrorizing the children with the threat of torture, even if they do not approve of actual torture. The anti-American diatribe was bad enough up to this point, but this is where it became downright offensive.
So why is HHH going to actually torture these children? Because he has figured out there are not three bombs - there are four nuclear bombs. HHH needs to get Younger to reveal the location of the fourth bomb. Of course, he does not actually bother to tell any of the other Americans about this until after they break into the torture chamber and stop him, because that would actually be a responsible and intelligent thing to do. If you have figured out there is a fourth bomb, why would you not bring this to everyone's attention immediately?
Of course, while they have the locations of three of the bombs, Great Satan America does not have the location of the fourth. It blows up and destroys Dallas. Yay! The terrorists win! The morons who wrote the script for this wretched movie probably threw a huge party when they came up with that as the ending.
This was not a thriller, with characters we can relate to along with an engaging plot. This was an anti-American diatribe that could have been written by Osama bin Laden himself. I do not watch movies so I can be beaten about the head and shoulders with political propaganda for 90 minutes. (Or, in the case of the absolutely dreadful Dances with Smurfs, two and a half hours.) Luring me in with the promise of an interesting thriller and then preaching to me for an hour and a half about how evil my country is does not help your cause.
Final Grade: F