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Unlocked: Talented Cast Goes to Waste in Predictable Thriller

  • Noomi RapaceOrlando Bloom...
  • Action & AdventureThriller
  • Michael Apted
reviewed by
Marija Djurovic
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Unlocked: Talented Cast Goes to Waste in Predictable Thriller

Much was expected from Michael Apted’s latest directorial effort Unlocked. Featured on the 2008 Blacklist for the most liked unmade scripts of the year, the film has all of the right elements at its disposal to deliver one hell of a picture. Interesting concept? Check. Talented director? Check. Gifted cast? Check. However, the execution fails to utilise its blessings and deliver the necessary tension, which is most expected from a star-studded London-based spy thriller such as this. 

The story begins with Alice (Rapace); a no-nonsense CIA interrogator with a knack for extracting information from suspects, who, after the unfortunate events in Paris from a few years back, has now taken a desk job in London. She is soon pulled into action, however, by her Operations Chief, Bob Hunter (Malkovich), after the agency receives news about a well-known Islamist terrorist, Yazid Khalil (Khoury), who is planning a biological attack on an American target in the heart of London.

After being sent in to question the caught messenger working for Khalil, it soon becomes clear that she has been played. Forced to fight her way out of a deadly situation, Alice soon finds herself on the run, struggling to make sense of what’s happened whilst at the same time questioning her allegiances – including the one with her mentor Eric (Douglas) and MI5 agent Knowles (Collette rocking a short blonde hairdo) – in order to figure out where it all went wrong. Along the way, she finds a make-shift partner in Jack (Bloom doing absolutely nothing with what appears to be a surplus role); an ex-marine – and a particularly skilled cat burglar – who also finds himself caught up in the mess.

Written by first-time screenwriter Peter O’Brien, Unlocked could and should have been much better than this. Crumbling under pressure to deliver, Apted – a seventy-six-year-old British filmmaker behind movies such as 007’s The World is Not Enough and The Chronicles of Narnia – struggles to find a steady pace throughout and fails to boost this rather generic and by-the-numbers thriller with energy, thought and complexity. One of its biggest issues, and there are plenty, is the predictability of the plot which, naturally, only manages to deplete the picture of any possible tension and suspense even further.

On a brighter note, Apted manages to stage a handful of interesting action sequences, while Rapace – who still hasn’t quite found that one defining role her career needs – is on good form and once again demonstrates that she is more than capable of holding her own. The rest of the cast is not so lucky unfortunately, with most of them sleep-walking through their roles, showing very little interest or joy towards the material at hand. Can you blame them?

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360 Tip

Naomi Rapace is setto appear as the renowned opera singer, Maria Callas, in Niki Caro’s Callas.

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