IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 93 mins
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
Alice Racine is a CIA interrogator based in London, reluctant to return to work having felt responsible for letting a terrorist slip through her grasp, resulting in an attack in Paris killing several civilians. However, an agency assigns her to a case where she must gather information about a plotted terrorist attack in London. The object of her interrogation is a messenger/courier sent by an Iman to make contact with a suspected terrorist and possibly set in motion an all-out biological terrorist attack. She seems to get the information that she needs, but then she receives a phone call from MI6 headquarters to interrogate the same man, and realises that the first job was a hoax. She now has to go on the run not knowing who she can trust….
Existing somewhere between Bastille Day and Spooks: The Greater Good, the very topical Unlocked is a film which I gather hasn’t been reviewed very well, but I rather enjoyed the twisty, fast paced spy thriller. I even gather that one review has said that it has hardly any action, which is completely untrue: the action is constant, but quick, brutal and reasonably realistic, and I found it this film more exciting than, say, the half hour CGI fest at the end of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 which almost put me to sleep. Now you should be warned that there are a few silly plot holes in the story, such as one specific kid falling ill to the incredibly deadly virus of the story but not, it seems, his companion or indeed everyone within a short distance who would all probably succumb to it considering what we’ve been told about it. The whole subplot concerning the character played by Orlando Bloom is shaky [but then again the whole character is shaky, and did Johnny Depp teach him his cockney accent?] – for a start why the hell does our supposedly extremely bright, good-at-her-job heroine trust him almost right off the bat. And the villain’s plan is astoundingly stupid and self defeating.
But I’m probably being too hard on the film. It never stops moving and the revelations come thick and fast. Some may find some of Alice’s actions morally questionable, but I’m not sure that the film is condoning them, just illustrating how the war on terror can be a messy one where notions of right and wrong can get blurred. The violence isn’t overdone but is still effectively vicious and even a dog gets it. Though I feel that she generally hasn’t been used very well outside of Sweden, Noomi Rapace is perhaps the best she’s ever been in an English speaking role and is totally believable as the tough [but not superhumanly so] Alice, while Toni Colette and John Malkovitch are clearly having fun as the heads of MI6 and the CIA [who aren’t portrayed as very competent] respectively who are engaged in a kind of conflict with each other. Director Michael Apted is never the most stylish of directors but he always pulls off a good example of slick craftsmanship and Unlocked is no exception. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about it, and you may very well forget it a few days later, but you should have plenty of fun with it while it lasts.