When the news covers a story about Steven Arthur Younger (Michael Sheen) a soldier turned extremist, the FBI lead by Agent Brody (Carrie-Anne Moss) jump into action except things are not clean cut as the military are already involved and they have secrets to protect. It appears that Steven has become a Muslim and planted 3 nuclear bombs in 3 locations all due to go off at the same time and the military have him under arrest. But Brody is not the only one called in to help with the case as the mysterious H (Samuel L. Jackson) is brought in and he has a very unconventional way of getting information out of terrorists, a way which Brody is not in the least bit comfortable with.
So the set up is we have a former soldier who has turned extremist and now is a terrorist who has planted 3 nuclear bombs all of which are scheduled to go off at the same time and so we have a race against time to find there locations and defuse them before kaboom. Sounds pretty standard doesn't it and with a cast lead by Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie-Anne Moss and Michael Sheen whilst accompanied by the sort of supporting actors you recognize you would think that yes this is going to be just another standard race against the clock situation made by Hollywood.
But nope "Unthinkable" isn't that sort of thriller instead this is a movie which questions how far can you and should you go to save others. As such we have the mysterious H who to put it simply is a torturer, who will cut, chop, slice and do all manner of unthinkable things to try and get Younger to spill the beans on where the bombs are. And counter acting this you have Agent Brody who talks, negotiates and finds H's acts of violence despicable. But as the clock ticks down any talking is getting her nowhere how far will she bend her own set of morals to save the many at the cost of the one. And trust me it is one of the most captivating movies which effectively makes you question how far is it right to go to get what you need.
What this means is that whilst part of the movie is down to what we witness when it comes to acts of torture for interrogation it is also an actor's movie with each of the leads doing a stunning job of playing the diverse characters. The way Samuel L. Jackson makes H an evil, uncompromising, cold hearted torturer is seriously unsettling as he comes across as heartless. And this contrast works nicely with Carrie-Anne Moss who brings out the almost average ness of Brody who finds her moral compass pushed to the limit by what she observes but it also evolves. And then there is Michael Sheen who delivers a sweaty, wild eyed performance bringing the despair and desperation of the character to the screen.
What this all boils down to is that "Unthinkable" is a captivating movie which has the power to work even for those who watch expecting something more typical from a trio of Hollywood actors. And it is effective in not only make you feel uncomfortable but also questioning your own sense of how far is right.