UNTHINKABLE Blu-ray Review

     July 13, 2010

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Hearing or reading the word unthinkable conjures the concept of some fantastically awesome or brutally heinous events. Since this film features Samuel L. Jackson it’s safe to assume that something heinous, horrible and harsh will occur, possibly involving Sam Jackson raising his voice and spitting some hateful yet thought provoking words at some meek opponent. Unthinkable is the sixth movie helmed by director Gregor Jordan.  It is the third film of his young filmography to contain heavy moral and political overtones, the other two being Ned Kelly and the tense, snarky, and excellent Buffalo Soldiers. Unthinkable’s packaging claims that it is “The most suspenseful thriller of the year”, but is it really? Hit the jump to find out.

unthinkable_movie_poster_01Samuel L. Jackson stars as “H”, a violent cypher tasked with extracting information from the traitorous Steven Younger/Yusuf (Michael Sheen). Reluctantly working alongside H is FBI Counter Terrorism Agent Helen Brody (Carrie Ann Moss).  Rounding out the already star heavy cast is Gill Bellows and Brandon Routh as FBI agents and Stephen Root as some inky cloak and dagger type government representative.  While the secondary actors don’t add much to the story due to their lack of screen time, their performances are solid and Stephen Root finds a strong equilibrium between menacing and shadowy. Sam Jackson really shines though. He could’ve taken his character into familiar profane scene chewing territory, but his portrayal of H is sneaky, malicious and cunning. Michael Sheen’s role as Steven Younger could’ve been over the top as well, but he is just as every bit cool, calm and calculating as H. Considering the film didn’t attract much attention critically or financially, both actors performances are superb.

While adversaries H and Younger get most of the chewy dialogue, Carrie Ann Moss’s acting is noteworthy. Her role is more integral to the overarching theme of the movie. Moss’s FBI Agent Brody acts as a lens for the audience, a medium between the two fanatical viewpoints of H and Younger. And that’s really what this movie is about, seemingly clashing viewpoints that cause people to ultimately enact similarly despicable acts. Unthinkable is billed as a heart attack inducing thriller, but I wouldn’t classify it as such. It’s not nearly suspenseful enough. Really, it’s a claustrophobic morality play. A majority of the movie takes place in a sterile interrogation room stuffed away in an abandoned school. Though the setting never bores, and the movie is briskly paced. Unthinkable is a methodical meditation on the war on terror. Opposing philosophies are contrasted, represented by Jackson and Sheen, while Carrie Ann Moss is an avatar for the average citizen. If viewed as an essay on contrasting fanatical maniacs and their ideologies, then Unthinkable can be considered a success.

Unthinkable’s special features are sparse. They boil down to commentary and previews, and three of the seven previews are played before Unthinkable begins. Though, two of the seven previews are for films that are rather risqué, these previews being for Chloe and Wild Things: Foursome. Yes, Wild Things: Foursome. It’s called Foursome because apparently it’s the fourth Wild Things movie. Oh, and the preview implies a foursome with three gorgeous ladies and some bro’y looking dude. Hence the frat boy clever title, Wild Things: Foursome. Awesome, bro.

Gregor Jordan’s commentary is actually one of the best overall aspects of Unthinkable. I played the commentary during the extended version of the movie, with Blur-ray Live and MovieIQ access enabled. MovieIQ is a clean streamlined feature that gives instant information on the movie being viewed. Categories range from cast, music and scene information. Though I noticed throughout that much of the MovieIQ data matched what director Gregor Jordan was spouting during his commentary, so using both features simultaneously seemed unnecessary. Jordan’ s commentary provided some behind the scenes info into the process of making a low budget movie such as Unthinkable, and he also let loose some interesting insight involving Sam Jackson’s H and an actual black ops soldier who acted as a torture advisor on the set of the movie. All together Unthinkable is a solid examination of the tactics used by both sides of the war on terror. Due to the crisp run time (about an hour and a half), lack of special features and misplaced thematic focus, Unthinkable is not a must own movie, but a definite rental.

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