Unthinkable - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Unthinkable Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 29, 2016
A routine thriller about finding the usual obligatory hidden bomb (ok! ok! so it's an atom bomb!) in time is given some serious teeth with the question of how far we might be willing to go in order to fight extremism. Me likey, even though the characters are often little more than simply cut-outs. The arguing over whether or not to torture or not gets to feel stagey at times, but the overall production makes its point and we have a darntootin' good time along the way. Michael Sheen is the glue that holds it all together.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2015
An intense thriller that is thought provoking. But it's sloppy handle leaves more to be desired!
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2010
An intense, hard-boiled and mind-blowing edge of your seat thriller. A powerful and astonishing film. It's a timely, stunning and relentlessly exciting film that should not be missed. A film that's as real and gut-wrenching as it is shockingly entertaining. It's solidly well-crafted and superbly performed. A ticking clock cat and mouse ride that's razor-sharp and utterly suspenseful from start to finish. An excellent film. This is one explosive and heart-pounding ride that commands your attention and has a vicious and cold message. Samuel L. Jackson gives one of the most mesmerizing and unforgettable performances of his career, its right up there with Black Snake Moan and Pulp Fiction. Jackson is a pure knockout, you will not want to take your eyes off him. Carrie-Ann Moss is outstanding, she brings as much strength to to her character as she does emotional vulnerability. Michael Sheen is brilliant, he acts with fire and riveting energy that truly explodes in this film.
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2010
Where do we draw the line for what's justified to do, when extracting information from a suspected terrorist? Brilliantly exploring this very complex question, this highly intense drama faces us against ourselves, as we are obliged to consider our true position on the fundaments of human rights. It may be easy to say that pain-inflicting interrogation forms are wrong in their very essence, but what if that person holds information that could save a million lives or more? Or what if he was one of the perpetrators behind a terrorist act that killed someone you knew? Would you still say no to the implementation of torture? No matter your answer to that, you can be sure that this movie will have you fully involved. Michael Sheen, who keeps growing on me as an actor with every movie I see him in, delivers a raw, enthralling and emotionally powerful performance, as a sly and unyielding muslim terrorist. It's a very up-close sort of film, that for the most part takes place in the interrogation room. But it's precisely that level of focus that makes us fully invested into the characters. Samuel L. Jackson is exceptional in one of the leads, and provides an intimidating anti-thesis to the solicitous FBI agent played by Carrie-Anne Moss. Not easily digested stuff, but if you can manage its discomforts, this is well worth taking the time to see. A riveting morality tale, of great contemporary and intellectual worth.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2011
A pretty good Black Ops CIA film. An American Terrorist who has converted to Islam has 3 Nuclear Bombs planted in 3 cities across America. Samuel Jackson is brought in to question the terrorist using some no so light hearted tactics. Working with a female from the FBI who is supposed to be the person in charge but her weak heart ways make the clash between her and Jackson an outstanding film. About the best film I have seen him in for years. 4 1/2 stars
Super Reviewer
July 16, 2009
This movie is overcome to fashion a relatively engrossing thriller. But Unthinkable ends without really answering any of the big moral questions it (clumsily) seeks to ask: when, if ever, are torture and killing just? Why are the suits always happy to stay clean while watching others get blood on their hands? Australian Gregor Jordan directs, but falls short of making a potentially white-knuckle concept as gripping as it could be.
Michael Sheen was playing very well and he did a good job - as always- here. Samuel L. Jackson was very "deep" in this movie and his acting was great.
Super Reviewer
½ March 14, 2011
In absolute desperation, is there really no limits to the human being? This film is extremely graphic and should not be watched by anyone with a weak stomach. The acting is incredible and the thought provoking questions are as deep as they get. This film takes on the unthinkable in a realistic situation of terrorism in America and the capabilities of the human kind.
Super Reviewer
July 10, 2010
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Michael Sheen, Stephen Root, Lora Kojovic, Martin Donovan, Gil Bellows, Vincent Laresca, Brandon Routh, Benito Martinez, Yara Shahidi, Sasha Roiz

Director: Gregor Jordan

Summary: When the government gets wind of a plot to destroy America involving a trio of nuclear weapons, locations unknown, it's up to a seasoned interrogator (Samuel L. Jackson) and an FBI agent (Carrie-Anne Moss) to find out exactly where they are. A suspected terrorist who's already in custody is their only chance for a timely answer. But what will it take to get him to talk?

My Thoughts: "Unthinkable, is spot on in it's title. Because the things this character 'H' does, is exactly that. It's really hard to watch, and hard to sympathize with Younger (the terrorist) considering he has planted nuclear bombs in three American cities. Not only does this movie make you think, but it definitely has you going back and forth on your feelings of the actions taking place against Younger. Do you side with Brody, who thinks its un-human what they are doing to Younger or do you side with 'H', who see's only a terrorist and doing anything necessary to get the answer's needed? I found myself going back and forth with that question. By the end I had made up my mind. I think 'H' could have went a lot further then what he did. Thankfully Brody stepped in, in the right moment and 'H' took her advice. Great tense movie with some brutal scenes. Great acting by all, especially Sheen and Jackson. A movie worth seeing."
Super Reviewer
September 12, 2010
O..M..G..!!!! This movie is a PERFECT example in how the ending can totally destroy a perfectly fantastic movie!!! I was completely enjoying this very suspensful, graphic, exciting film right up to the very last 2 seconds (literally). Then it just ended. I guess when you can't decide how to end a movie...you just roll the credits, and let the audience make up their own ending...???..I am so angry right now! Grrrrrrrr.
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2010
It was kinda boring at moments and at some were intense but in between it was normal nothing out of ordinary.

A convert to Islam sends the U.S. government a tape showing him in three non-descript storage rooms, each of which may contain a nuclear bomb set to detonate in less than a week. Helen Brody, an FBI agent in L.A., is tasked with finding the bombs while a CIA "consultant," known as "H," interrogates the suspect who has allowed himself to be caught. The suspect, whose wife and children have left him and disappeared, seems to know exactly what the interrogation will entail. Even as "H" ratchets up the pressure, using torture over Brody's objection, the suspect doesn't crack. Should "H" do the unthinkable, and will Brody acquiesce? Is any Constitutional principal worth possible loss of life?
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2010
...an entertaining and thought-provoking drama...
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2010
Let's look at the situation for a minute. You have a terrorist who has planted three nuclear bombs in three American cities. He has demands which can't be reasonably fulfilled. What do you do? Does Jack Ryan save the day? Does Superman fly in a grab the three bombs, hurling them into the sun? That's what would happen in fiction, but what happens for real? Unthinkable examines what would happen if the same scenario was posed to the United States right now.

Steven Arthur Younger (Michael Sheen) is the terrorist mentioned above. When he's captured the government is faced with two choices. The first is to allow the FBI interrogations unit headed by Agent Brody (Carrie-Anne Moss) do a traditional interrogation. The second choice is a man known simply as "H" (Samuel L. Jackson), who in a way is even more traditional than Brody in that some of his techniques go back to the Spanish Inquisition. Some could call H a sadist, others a surgeon. His is the governments ultimate tool in gaining much needed information.

The thing about Unthinkable is that it makes you think right up until the end. Some of you will question your own ethics by the end of this film. Where is the line drawn? Do we honor the rights of one person at the expense of fifteen million? At what point do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one? When it's all said and done you wonder who was more sane- H or his government handlers. He knew his goal and how to achieve it. The film is a moral struggle that will pull the viewer into it's tug of war of conscious. A thriller that allows you to think, which is a rare commodity today.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2010
Michael Sheen is great and there is some thoughtful material, but Jackson's character makes no sense and the end is a letdown.
Super Reviewer
½ June 20, 2010
Unthinkable is an awesome Thriller. Samuel L Jackson is a ruthless interrogator bent on finding the location of three nuclear bombs. The film is one of the most thrilling films that I have seen in recent memory. Unthinkable has a strong.message as well as a strong storyline. This is one thrilling film from start to finish, there are some genuine tense moments to be found here However with that being said, Unthinkable is a hard film to watch and is not for everyone. The film deals with a hard subject, and the content is definitely graphic, but if that doesn't bother you than give this a view. A powerful film that is as much Thrilling as it is thought provoking.
Super Reviewer
½ June 16, 2010
Unless like me, you are a die hard Samuel L. Jackson fan, this is a film that probably fell way under your radar. Unthinkable begs the question of just how far The United States government is willing to go when the tables are reversed. A former military intelligence officer has planted three nuclear devices in three U.S. cities. He sends a tape to the FBI, proving his claim, and is then quickly captured by the military. The FBI and military question the man, but as time starts winding down, the military calls in a man simply known has H (Jackson), to extract the information any way he can. While this direct-to-video released received almost no attention, Samuel L. Jackson is really amazing as this hardened man, torn between what he must do and what is right. Jackson is paired with Carrie-Ann Moss, who has the exact dilemma as H, but decides to take the opposing position. While she wasn't bad, it's very hard to picture Moss as an FBI agent, even as you're watching this film. Unthinkable is one of these films that presents itself as a question to the audience. When it comes right down to it, how different are we from our enemies? It also asked the question of whether or not torture works. Human rights organizations say no, Dick Cheney says yes, my advice, watch this film and decide for yourself. Samuel L. Jackson is terrific and there is a big twist in the end. It's not a unique or unpredictable film, but it does pose some important questions, that you may answer differently after seeing the film.
Super Reviewer
½ September 7, 2013
This suspense thriller directed by Gregor Jordan and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Sheen and Carrie-Anne Moss was just another direct-to-video release. Some critics thought that this film is noteworthy for the controversy it generated around its subject matter, the torture of a man who threatens to detonate three nuclear bombs in separate U.S. cities. Actually, it is something which is a simple brainwashing technique to make people think that everything is acceptable when you are fighting "terrorists" (which can be anyone declared as such by the U.S. authorities).

The film begins with an American Muslim man and former Delta Force operator named Yusuf (Sheen), formerly named Younger, making a videotape. When FBI Special Agent Helen Brody (Moss) and her team see news bulletins looking for Yusuf, they launch an investigation, which is curtailed when they are summoned to a high school, which has been converted into a black site under military command. A special interrogator, "H" (Samuel L. Jackson), is brought in to force Yusuf to reveal the locations of the nuclear bombs.

There are two versions of this movie, the first one is the direct-to-video release which has the ending where Yusuf kills himself, and the one I watched is extended version - here an FBI bomb disposal team arrives at one of the disclosed locations and resets the timer to prevent the bomb from going off and as the FBI are celebrating however, behind a nearby crate, the originally unconfirmed fourth bomb's timer counts down to zero. The screen immediately cuts to black and the credits roll. I think that the extended version is much better but it seems that the reviews are rarely written for it.

There is an aesthetic realism in this movie but that is just a mask for the absurdity of the point it tries to make... for me was nothing more than a clumsy attempt to convert people to accept torture but to remain "human".
Super Reviewer
November 12, 2011
The film was so so. It kind of reminded me of an episode of the tv show 24. I thought the film's tone was too dark. Carrie Anne-Moss shines in the lead role. It's been awhile since I saw her in a really good film role. Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Sheen are also very good too. Worth checking out for the performances.
Don't Tase Me Bro
Super Reviewer
September 26, 2010
Here's the story:

Film you've never heard about starring Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Michael Sheen quietly bypasses a cinematic release in America and goes straight to DVD this summer. (Cinemas in Russia, Argentina, Netherlands and Belgium get to see it...but, come on, what chance REALLY, does it ever have of reaching an audience let alone making any money?)

Why am I hung up on this peripheral fact surrounding this film?

Because it's a veritable crime against Western Society for it to be virtually expunged from view. I rented it on a lark, and ended up being extremely grateful for following my serendipitous instincts.

Why has this happened? Is this because the film was written, acted, directed poorly? No. Not at all. Quite the contrary. The 'real' reason why this has been cast down to DVD-Purgatory is because it provokes, prods and challenges the viewer. It makes you uncomfortable; as well it should.

Here's the skinny:

An American-born Islamic Fundamentalist Steven Arthur Younger (played frenetically, with aplomb by Sheen) has announced the presence of 3 Nuclear bombs stashed in 3 unknown cities which will go off within 72 hours if his demands are not met. The consequence of which brings the annihilation of up to 10 million Americans.

Now in custody, CIA, DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and FBI agents quietly converge to 'coerce' the location of the bombs from Younger. In desperation, they embrace torture as a 'means to an end'. As the hours and days tick away, the Torturer, (played by Jackson) resorts to ever more cruel and inhumane methods to obtain the truth; 'methods' which will shock, disgust, and challenge everyone involved.

Written by Peter Woodward, and directed by Gregor Jordan (dir. of BUFFALO SOLDIERS) this film engenders moral questions in the viewer; how humane would you be to save the lives of millions of innocent Americans? How inhumane? How far are you willing to go? And what is lost once you're there?

As the stakes escalate, and the moral polarity shifts within everyone, especially Agent Brody (played well by THE MATRIX's Moss), the conclusion ranks as one of the most nerve-shredding ones I can remember.

Some viewers, who've sated their twisted appetites on the SAW films will lump this film as one of their own; but they are clearly missing the whole point of this film. It is brutal. But it has to be, or it loses all of its meaning.

If Blockbuster still exists in your town, go and rent this film. Now. Right now. If you're in America, it's been on shelves since June of this year. Don't let the straight-to-DVD-release stigma dissuade you...after all, not seeing this film is what the majority are supposed to do.
I challenge you to swim upstream and see it.
Super Reviewer
½ May 26, 2010
Do the ends justify the means?

The central premise is a suspected terrorist by the name of Yusuf, has built three nuclear bombs and placed them in three major cities in the United States. Obviously, the government is scared and since "they don't give in to terrorist demands", they decide to extract the information from him using extreme force.

Enter the mysterious character H (played by the iconic Samuel L. Jackson), and the FBI agent Helen Brody (Carrie-Anne Moss) who are called in to interrogate Yusuf (Michael Sheen in a terrific performance as the terrorist under examination). Brody and her team are assigned to help find the bombs while H is requested to question Yusuf. Samuel L Jackson does a good job by playing the "ethically correct monster" who is just doing his job.

Once H begins to brutally and inhumanely torture Yusuf (who also happens to be an American Citizen) the pain and horror can be felt by all and we question ourselves, is it right for evil to overcome another evil? There is a fine line between right and wrong in this matter but ultimately the film left me with a nasty taste in my mouth. On one hand we have the law telling us we cannot torture and on the other, we have our common sense that one man's freedom was worthless compared to the lives of millions. So, what would you pick?
Super Reviewer
½ August 5, 2010
This movie was really interesting and exciting. Samuel L. Jackson is at his best starring as a FBI interrogator who performs torture on terrorists in order to get answers on the dangers that are luring around the corner. Samuel L. Jackson is great as always and I don't believe that this movie would have been this great if it wasn't for his presence.
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