Back in 2007 an interesting "single location" thriller called P2 was released. In that film a sexy young business woman, played by Rachel Nichols, was trapped in a locked parking garage. These types movies can often have a good premise, but lack execution. The Numbers Station is a pleasant surprise, mainly because it never tries to be more ambitious that it sets out to be.
The premise to the 88 minute film is simple, yet effective. An undercover black-ops guy named Emerson, a recovering alcoholic, has second thoughts about cleaning up loose ends on his last job, and botches the job. He is subsequently assigned to a remote Code station in the countryside of England. Apparently, although never fully explained this station sends out encoded messages to black-ops operatives worldwide.
Sultry Malin Akerman portrays Kathrine, a code breaker, a cypher reader, and broadcaster of the secret numbers. The two are assigned to the station as a pair, and work for days at a time, relieving another pair of individuals, who also work there.
The Numbers Station is heavily fortified, like a bunker, with electronic gates, and a blast door, to prevent entry. Oddly enough there is no live guards on the premises, actually if there were, perhaps this whole movie would not have been possible.
The movie becomes a taught psychological type thriller, as we never know the players, who is a friend or who is a foe. The rule of the game is to obviously trust no one, but once they become trapped, Emerson and Kathrine have to find an escape plan.
Cusak is quite effective in his role, he portrays it a bit like Kiefer Sutherland in "24", always about the job, but taking time to involve the human element, with a nod to the urgency of the task. The Numbers Station has a dialogue heavy script, and Cusak is given a chance to show some dramatic range.
Akerman's Kathrine character is given many emotions to deal with, fear, when she is being chased, and horror, when she sees the body part of another person. Akerman has progressed as an actress, although her striking looks and mannerisms are perhaps more suited to action films. After witnessing her in Watchmen, I figured that more hard driving action celluloid would fall in her lap. I am sure The Numbers Station will help further her career, as it shows her ability in a dialogue laden film.
The Numbers Station, although not super fast paced, is tight enough to hold interest throughout, none of the sappy love scenes or extraneous padding that are thrown into many DTV releases. Very little down time between tense and action sequences, but enough to allow the viewer to become absorbed in the plot.
The setting on The Number Station is sparse, a cavernous building, with several lockable rooms. The main broadcast chamber is a radio-station like control room with two huge computer screens. Some effort to show the technology is displayed, but never does it take away from the focus of the production.
Overall I liked the film, I recommend it to people who enjoy, the "24" series, and covert operations type films. The Numbers Station rates a 7 out of 10.
The film is available for pre-order on Amazon @