In the somewhat far fetched and morally dubious thriller Unthinkable, a terrorist suspect who claims to have planted three nuclear bombs is tortured to force him to reveal the locations.

Most of the movie involves debates between Humphries (played by Samuel L Jackson) and others about how far they are prepared to go to force the terrorist to reveal where the bombs are. Humphries is prepared to do the unthinkable, others are not.

During the movie the history of the terrorist is revealed and his original threat is known to be credible because the intelligence services know how much plutonium he was able to steal.

Close to the end of the movie the terrorist appears to crack and reveals the location of three bombs. But Humphries wants to continue the interrogation by unthinkable means. He points out that the three bombs don't add up to all the stolen material so there must be a forth. Nobody else takes him seriously. Why not?


As it was shown throughout the film, the methods which Humphries employed were given as much weight as the information he was supposed to be obtaining. It also seemingly distracted Humphries' employers from their primary goal: locate and disarm any nuclear weapons which may been in existence.

This seems to have been a message sent by the filmmakers to the audience that torture itself distracts from the reasons that it is to be used. That the acts themselves gain as much attention (and in some cases, far more) than the information which they are supposed to reveal.

There's also the fact that people neither care for torture, note the torturer. When they got what they believed that they "needed" from him, they simply wanted him to go away as they likely felt "soiled" by his presence.

Finally, nobody (except for Humphries) really wanted him to do the "unthinkable." If he could get them the information which they needed using methods which they could still stomach, fine. Beyond that seems to have been farther than they (Humphries employers) were willing to go.

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