The Numbers Station (2013)
Review by Jude Felton
If there was any justice in the world, and we all know that there isn’t, John Cusack would be the biggest movie star out there. With a career already spanning 30 years, he has managed to consistently appear in terrific movies; many of which sit in that mainstream side of cult. He delivers the goods as the lead, or in a supporting role, and I personally love watching his films, even when I don’t especially like the film; such as 1408.
With The Numbers Station, Cusack takes the lead in a role that isn’t a million miles away from his performance in the wonderful Grosse Pointe Blank. Okay, so there isn’t the humor or nostalgia in The Numbers Station, but he does play a CIA Operative Emerson Kent; read that as hit man. On his latest mission he shows weakness, and ultimately pays the price for it, as his colleague steps in to finish the job.
All is not lost though, as Emerson is given another chance to prove himself by looking after Katherine. A seemingly boring mission, but it is one that will end up with the pair hiding out in the titular Numbers Station, as the enemy tries to get in. Basically this is a siege movie, but due to the plot mechanisms, such as the video footage stored in the station, which allows the film a slightly more expansive feel. Granted, the majority of the movie does take place in the station, although it never feels penned in.
Cusack as usual is riveting to watch, even though he has not been given his greatest role ever. As usual though he does immerse himself in the material, and as such adds a lot to the overall film. If any old random action star had taken the lead role I could imagine this would be an incredibly average movie. As it stand though, Cusack lifts it up into the realms of very good and you will want to keep watching.
At times The Numbers Station is surprisingly violent, usually with scenes that are brought up through the station’s surveillance footage, and once or twice I found myself surprised by quite how violent it was.
The Numbers Station is a taut and well-made thriller and, whilst it isn’t Cusack’s best movie, is definitely an engrossing viewing experience. At a little under 90 minutes there isn’t any room for superfluous shenanigans, instead it gets the job done and walks quietly away.
Chances are that you may pass this movie by, seeing as it has had little exposure, but I recommend checking it out, if not only for the charismatic lead. The Numbers Station is not spectacular, although it is a hidden gem, and with solid supporting roles from Malin Akerman and Liam Cunningham, you really can’t go too far wrong.
The Numbers Station is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Image Entertainment.