Sunday, 11 June 2017

Unlocked by Peter O'Brien

I love a good thriller, and this is a great thriller. It is set in London, and concerns an American agent who is forced to go rogue because she is menaced from all sides and doesn't know who to trust. 

In these respects it is reminiscent of another excellent espionage adventure, Survivor, written by Philip Selby.

Unlocked is the work of Peter O'Brien. It is his first screenplay but, as the saying goes, judging by this it certainly won't be his last. 

If O'Brien is a newcomer then the film's director Michael Apted is an old hand. His many credits in a long and distingushed career include a Bond film, The World is Not Enough.

Unlocked is gripping, suspenseful and it kept me guessing. I was pleasurably surprised more than once by sudden twists in the plot. 

The only real flaw it has is in following a very hoary cliché. Cynical viewers would guess from the beginning that the heroine's black friend is marked for death. 

As soon as we see his happy home life, and watch him playing with his beloved infant daughter, we know his fate is sealed...

Other than that, though, full marks for a great script. Well researched, fast moving and very hard-edged. In its ruthlessness it reminded me a little of the spy thrillers by Trevanian like The Eiger Sanction.

Unlocked has a particularly spectacular cast. Noomi Rapace is perfect in the lead role, but the support includes Michael Douglas and John Malkovich as CIA chiefs, Toni Collette as a senior British spook and, best of all, Orlando Bloom as an ex-soldier turned burglar.

For years I had a theory that Bloom was only viable in movies where he could swordfight with the bad guys. Here he proves me comprehensively wrong. He's achieved a new maturity and seriousness.

Unlocked is a first rate action movie. Don't miss it.

(Image credits: The posters are from good old Imp Awards.)

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