Steven Younger (played by Michael Sheen) is an American who has converted to Islam. In a video, he announces to the U.S. government that he has left three bombs in big cities across the US, with timers set to detonate four days from now if his demands aren’t met. He is quickly apprehended and Helen Brody (by Carrie-Anne Moss), an FBI agent who leads an anti-terrorist team in L.A, must supervise his questioning to find the bombs. The interrogation team is joined by an enigmatic and menacing CIA “consultant”, Henry Harold Humphries (by Samuel L. Jackson). Known as “H”, he has unique but effective methods of interrogation and the government needs him for this. When he starts work, the agents are against his methods and H’s only supporter is his CIA operative colleague, Charles Thompson (by Stephen Root). Authorisation comes from “the top” to get this interrogation to produce the answers they need as soon as possible, so the agents are impotent to do anything to stop him. The more Younger resists, the higher the stakes get regarding his safety and the more risks H is prepared to take to get a result. Agent Brody is horrified at the scene before her and refuses to take part, but as the deadline approaches, the situation becomes desperate. But what happens when the man whose job is to get the result starts to lose his grip? … when even he starts to wonder if he’s doing the right thing …. when lives and families, even sanity, starts to be threatened … while the clock slowly ticks down ….?
I don’t know why this movie never achieved full release in the cinemas – it’s a real shame. The performances are great and the storyline presents several ideas that will keep you thinking and probably discussing with fellow viewers, long after the credits have rolled. In itself, the production is very well done – camera work is excellent and the chaos depicted in scenes engulfs the viewer. As a thriller, it works – there are sufficient twists, turns and the surprises do surprise, which is great. Michael Sheen is outstanding as Steven Younger. His performance is intense, realistic and absolutely “warts and all” here, it’s marvellous. Carrie-Anne Moss is good as Agent Brody, she’s a strong woman but still retains a sensitive side. Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t put a foot wrong as the frightening and unpredictable “H”. His utter violence towards his captive, presented so clinically, is a marvellous contrast to the tender family man we see when he is with his wife and family. The questions are clear, but the answers are not … when is it okay to harm others? … is one death worth more than another? … what constitutes torture? … what’s more important – law and order or justice? … what should be made public and what should be kept “classified”? – and who gets to decide?
Made in 2010. Directed by Gregor Jordan