Valuable life lesson: You can't always judge a book by its cover. Usually that means beautiful things may be hidden by a ugly exterior. In the case of 'Unspeakable' it is the exact opposite. It actually hurts to write the following review because it pretty much admits I'm a superficial person who was suckered into watching a movie that was stashed in the box and write-up of a much more interesting looking film.
'Unspeakable' is a very nearly perfect storm of bad movie-making. Hampered by any number of problems, one of the worst is a ham-handed anti-capital punishment message that tries to put a human face on the issue. The problem is that it has a lot of competition and 'Unspeakable' does not stand up very well to it. In fact, it doesn't stand up well in a light breeze. Granted many movies aren't going to compare favourably to 'The Green Mile,' but in 'The Green Mile' similar themes are dealt with. Prisoners in 'The Green Mile' are treated compassionately and it becomes deeply effective in decrying capital punishment through the actions of a sadistically incompetent guard. In comparison, every guard in 'Unspeakable' is both sadistic and incompetent. The problem is that the film seems to believe that if one mean guard is good, 100 mean guards will be great. This, I assure you, isn't the case. If you were going for satire it might work. The tragedy (for the film makers -- and comedy for us) is that it takes itself extremely seriously and begins to implode at every opening.
Pavan Grover wrote the screenplay and there are glimpses of good ideas. There is an unfriendly look at religion, the nature of good and evil, the capacity for cruelty and the psychological and philosophical motivations for it. Finding these blurred and hidden themes though isn't worth the effort. There are clever aphorisms scattered like breadcrumbs for Hansel and Gretel but they don't lead anywhere.
I already mentioned 'The Green Mile' and that it is one of at least three superior films that 'Unspeakable' unsuccessfully compares itself to. From 'The Night of the Hunter' comes the tattooed knuckles of love and hate as well as an attempt at the cool charisma and menace of Robert Mitchum. From 'The Silence of the Lambs' there comes a psychiatrist and serial killer playing an information game.
There are many failures that contribute to 'Unspeakable' and its near total collapse. The dialogue is comically horrendous. The music sounds like the theme song for clowns at a carnival and it plays with full comic effect. As weak as the Grover driven script is, the Grover driven performance is even worse. He's dreadful and it spreads through the rest of the cast like a virus. The director needs to take some of the blame for his failure to reign in the actors and the script (although when your lead actor is also the writer and the producer ...). It is a vision less and clunky mess. The only bright light is Lance Henrickson. No matter how bad the film, he always approaches it with stoic and reliable professionalism. I'm amazed he didn't get swept up like Dennis Hopper and Jeff Fahey in the sea of bad things. Fahey turns in at best a bemused performance and is clearly remembering the good old days.
There was an exchange of dialogue near the end of the film between Henrickson and Meyer.
H: "You were really fascinated by him weren't you?" M: "Yeah, grotesquely fascinated. I probably could have studied him for years." H : "Yeah, but at what cost to your psyche?"
That's really what 'Unspeakable' is all about. Yeah, you could watch it. But at what cost to your psyche?
Lance Henrickson is far too good for a movie like this. Dennis Hopper is too good for a movie like this. Dina Meyer is too good for a movie like this. Jeff Fahey, I repeat, Jeff Fahey is too good for a movie like this. And let's be honest: you and I are too good for this. Life is too short. Go hug your kids and promise to protect them from all the bad things in the world. Start with 'Unspeakable' and you could do a lot worse. Take my word for it and avoid this dog at all costs.
Horror / Thriller
Horror / Thriller
The scientist Diana Purlow is performing experiments with the mind of criminals sentenced to death in the prison of the sadistic warden Earl Blakely. She tests an apparatus she developed and capable of read minds in a man that claims to be innocent of a murder, but she is not able to convince her former lover and Governor to call off the execution. When the serial killer Jesse Mowatt is arrested and sentenced to death, she convinces the warden to submit Jesse to her experiment. While working with the murderer, Diana faces pure evil in its essence. —Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
October 04, 2021 at 01:23 PM