Unlocked  (15) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Michael Apted, UK, 2017, 98 mins

Cast:  Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Toni Colette

Review by Carol Allen

This film has an extremely complicated – indeed almost impenetrable – plot involving CIA interrogator Alice (Rapace), who is in disgrace for failing to “unlock” i.e. get the information out of a prisoner involved in a terrorist attack. 

She is called back into action to “unlock” another suspected terrorist but then realises she’s been duped by Frank Sutter (Matthew Marsh), who I think claims to be with MI5 but I’m not actually sure who he’s with. The one thing you can be sure of is no-one is necessarily who he says he is in this film.

The women’s loyalties are reasonably straight forward – there are only two of them with significant roles.   Apart from Rapace, the other is Emily Knowles (Toni Collette), almost unrecognisable with a closely cropped white hairstyle, who is genuinely with MI5 and John Malkovich, who appears to be genuinely something big in the CIA – he spends most of his screen time barking instructions from an impressive control room.  Other characters involved include Michael Douglas as Alice’s former boss and mentor and an almost unrecognisable Orlando Bloom – my, he’s got big and butch since his days as a “Lord of the Rings” series Elf.   Sporting what sounds like a bit of an Australian accent he starts off his role as a possible romantic interest for Alice, but like I say, hardly anyone in this over complicated plot is what he or she seems.  There’s also a guy called Wilson (Philip Brodie), who appears to be a bad guy but the most intriguing thing about him is I swear he was wearing eyeliner.

Not even the skilled and experienced direction of Michael Apted and his impressive top flight cast can make clear what exactly is going on and who in the plethora of characters wants what.  The proceedings are not helped by the fact that Noomi Rapace’s diction leaves a lot to be desired.   Much of her dialogue is mumbled and incomprehensible and I don’t think this is a problem with the sound mix in this case   Colette’s lines for example are all as clear as a bell, as are those of most of the rest of the cast.  Even so that still doesn’t help much in terms of clarifying what is going on.

For fans of high octane action particularly gun play there’s plenty of that.   One memorable shot of Rapace for example with a gun in each hand firing on both cylinders at a “person of interest”.   She more than gets her fair share of physical action.  But the story itself is so over complicated I gave up on trying to unravel it, thinking a la Bard:  “This is too hard a knot for me to untie”.