Unthinkable: A Movie To Think About

I remember writing an article about my preference when it comes to horror. However, when I’m asked what’s the scariest horror film I’ve ever watched, I will answer Unthinkable. Unthinkable isn’t a very well known film even though it features some well-known names like Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie-Anne Moss and Michael Sheen and has a rather horrifying premise. It is categorized as a “torture porn” film right along with Saw and Hostel but is nowhere near as gruesome as the latter films and is actually quite tame. If you ask me though, even with minimal gore, it manages to become one of the most horrifying watches I’ve seen to date.


The story begins with a man named Yusuf Atta Mohammed, portrayed by Michael Sheen, an American Muslim whose name was formerly Steven Arthur Younger. Apparently, he has set a number of nuclear explosives among major American cities and plans to detonate them and kill millions unless his demands are met. Special agent Helen Brody, played by Carrie-Ann Moss is called in to investigate the situation. When the government finally captures and detains Yusuf, Helen is called in to take part in obtaining information about the bomb threat. Unfortunately, as Yusuf is proving to be less than cooperative, a man who goes by the name “H”, played by Samuel L. Jackson, is called in to “assist”. An infamous “special interrogator”, H is a skilled torturer and is often called to interrogate assets when legal and acceptable methods are no longer viable.

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And from there, the situation only goes downhill…

How Far Would You Go To Do What’s Right?

This is the central theme of the movie and what puts it a cut above most torture porn films even though it is nowhere near as gory as some of them. While the film clearly paints Yusuf as a terrorist and villain, the brutality that H resorts to raises the question of just how far are the authorities willing to go to do what is right. Granted, nuclear weapons are nothing to belittle and can kill millions, but would you be willing to sacrifice your sense of morality and harm innocent people just to save people from certain doom? And even if you say yes to that, would you really be able to when push comes to shove?

Failure Of Negotiations

Another theme is the fact that some people simply can’t be bargained with. Sure, there are probably a lot of good people out there but we can’t really account for all of them. Sooner or later, you’ll run into folks who are just not open to negotiation and are willing and prepared to commit some of the most horrible things for their own twisted beliefs. While many of us try our best to be humane and hold on to decency, there’s no denying that there will be people who will not share your views and will not hesitate to destroy everything you love just to get what they want. Having good intentions and offering a good deal doesn’t always mean that bad people will immediately see the error of their ways.



3 Replies to “Unthinkable: A Movie To Think About”

  1. I’m guessing that this is a fairly recent film, and that it has been trotted out to address (perhaps reinforce) the message that.. torture not only doesn’t work, and that it is grossly immoral. In this American election cycle, the Democrats, who run rampant among Hollywood’s producers, directors and actors, are out to discredit the Republicans who have been identified with ‘water boarding’.. which they say is a form of torture. The Republicans, not oddly enough, deny this and claim that ‘water boarding’ is simply an enhanced, (and effective) form of interrogation.. especially in situations depicted in the movie where imminent, wholesale carnage must be averted. It would be interesting to know whether, in the movie, Yussuf does break and.. ‘spills the beans’.
    To the question of whether we, (anyone among us), could find the intestinal fortitude to extract a confession through torture.. beyond ‘water boarding’ that is.. we might get an answer from the PNP. My guess is .. ‘yes we could’.

    1. Actually no and no. I saw this in 2012. Also, it doesn’t really side with anyone in the debate about torture. It leaves it up to the viewer.

      I suggest you watch it to see a good performance by Sam Jackson, if nothing else. I liked it a lot better than a lot of typical “torture porn” films.

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