Anybody may very well be the turncoat within the too-twisty-by-half espionage thriller Unlocked

Picture: Lionsgate
Lead

C+

Language

English, Dari, German

Forged

Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Toni Collette, Michael Douglas, John Malkovich

Availability

Choose theaters and VOD September 1

Espionage thrillers site visitors in uncertainty, however there’s a distinction, for a spy, between questioning who you’ll be able to belief and being surrounded by an all-star forged of potential turncoats. Unlocked stars Noomi Rapace as CIA agent Alice Racine, who’s been mendacity considerably low after failing to stop a terrorist assault in France. (Not an actual one—this movie has been on the shelf for some time, having wrapped principal pictures nearly a yr previous to the Paris assaults of November 2015.) Requested to interrogate a high-value suspect, she quickly discovers that the company has been compromised, and that the data she’s extracted—benign in itself—will now be used to set one other assault in movement. Who’s accountable? Is it the handler (Toni Collette, sporting an Annie Lennox ’do) who recruited her for the job? Is it the suspiciously suspicious bureau chief (John Malkovich)? Is it Racine’s semi-retired mentor (Michael Douglas)? Or is it the burglar (Orlando Bloom) who turns into her ally after she finds him robbing her London protected home?

Alas, Hercule Poirot doesn’t present up on the finish to clarify the whole lot in methodical, Belgian-accented element. As an alternative, Unlocked begins off sturdily after which wobbles increasingly because the plot twists multiply. Director Michael Apted has loads of expertise on this area, going all the best way again to 1983’s Gorky Park; his résumé even features a Bond film, albeit one of many weaker ones (The World Is Not Sufficient). He is aware of how one can wring most pressure from the early sequence wherein Alice, taking a break mid-interrogation, receives a telephone name assigning her the very job that she’s already practically completed. As soon as Bloom exhibits up along with his transparently bogus cowl story, nonetheless, the film turns into a relentless collection of fake-outs and reversals, as if half a season of 24 had been compressed into under two hours. At one point, a significant character dies… but since this demise is implied rather than shown, it qualifies as a major retroactive surprise when (s)he fails to “unexpectedly” reappear later on. Whether that constitutes cleverness or ineptitude (or is merely a gaping wound from a scene that got cut) isn’t remotely clear.

As mediocre thrillers go, Unlocked at least remains lively, thanks in large part to its ludicrously overqualified cast. Rapace makes steely professionalism compelling, though she struggles a bit, as any actor would, with the hokey backstory—there’s really no need for Racine to be crippled by guilt, and her ostensible redemption arc barely registers. The supporting players, excepting Bloom (who seems perversely determined to annoy), provide welcome ballast. Malkovich, in particular, has enormous fun with his generic role, putting sarcastic spin on every line; a video conference between his chief and Collette’s operative, during which he can be seen alternately flipping her off and banging his head against the back of his chair when she’s out of camera range, briefly turns the film into a first-rate comedy. It’s arguably too funny, given the context, but at least nobody’s phoning it in. When you’re in the mood for some malarkey, make it committed malarkey. There’s plenty of that on view here.

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