BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
AUGUST 16, 2010
Samuel L. Jackson is left to do the unthinkable in one of his newest films, appropriately titled “Unthinkable.” Jackson is thrown into the belly of the beast, playing retired interrogator, Henry Herald Humphries, also known simply as “H.” In an effort to stop nuclear bombs from being set off in the United States, “H” must act quickly to get the man responsible to squeal and by any (and I mean any) means necessary.
Carrie-Anne Moss counterbalances Samuel L. Jackson as the guilt-stricken FBI Agent, Helen Brody. The odds could not be tougher. Yusuf aka Younger (Michael Sheen) is the terrorist trained in outlasting torture of any kind. Jackson puts him to the limits, testing the boundaries of every party involved in the black-ops interrogation until the lines of good and evil are fused together, making each party as evil as the next.
Jackson is absolutely dominant in the role, in control and personalizing the role. Jackson comes off as the socially acceptable Hannibal Lector (minus the cannibalism) carrying out his actions with relentless precision and being backed by the government for doing so. Not often do we see the sadistic side of Jackson, but even then, he has poise and confidence that many lacks in similar positions.
Is it wrong to torture a terrorist for the truth, especially if you are unsure what the truth is? Many of the characters and, thus, the writers, are on the fence about this question throughout most of the film. Indecisive and constantly jumping from side to side, the characters face the morality of their actions. Is one life, or a few lives, worth saving hundreds or thousands of innocent bystanders? How far is too far when lives are at stake? There is no clean and clear solution.
Support Samuel L. Jackson and view the film. In the end, you may not agree with his course of action, but either way, “Unthinkable” is able to get a rise out of just about any audience. Michael Sheen plays the role of the heartless terrorist with an agenda to perfection, acting sympathetic one moment and having a biblical meltdown the next, adding heavily to the quality of the film. “Unthinkable” may not benefit everyone, containing some disturbing sequences and prodding at questions as to how close this film depicts reality, but to go without catching the film is to never experience the rush of an unstoppable force (Jackson) facing an immovable object (Sheen).
June 14, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
(for strong bloody violence, torture and language)
Samuel L. Jackson