By Lynn Venhaus
A dysfunctional family relationship drama starts out this bleak doomsday terror attack that keeps everybody guessing about the bad guys and what’s at stake.
It’s the Midsummer national holiday that celebrates the summer solstice and Sweden wakes up to a state of emergency. They are under attack, but no one knows who is behind it or why. Internet, TV and phone networks are down – and the chaos keeps coming.
A shy, lonely teenager, Alex (Christoffer Nordenrot) has an abusive father that propels him to leave one day, and eventually becomes a heralded professional pianist. He returns home for his mother’s funeral when he runs into his childhood crush Anna (Lisa Henni), whom he has been pining away for, and his conspiracy theorist dad Bjorn (Jesper Barkeslius), who remains unapologetic.
They reunite when they need each other most, so of course that brings up flashbacks amid the central theme of trying to survive. It’s an easy crutch for plot purposes while chemical rain falls from the sky.
The low budget film must have spent most of its Kickstarter money on explosions and fiery crashes. The danger is real, even if we don’t know what is happening, just like the confused citizenry, thus keeping us off-guard.
The movie starts off glum, then proceeds to get grimmer. Time is running out while they sprint across country roads and fields in their village as bullets are sprayed at the innocent.
The thinly drawn characters aren’t specific enough to get invested in their plight. The unapologetic dad is such a miserable man that we don’t care whether he makes it.
And the platonic reuniting of Alex and Anna is through a contrived circumstance, which is awkward, no matter how much we want to root for them.
By virtue of its basic construction, the plot is too manipulative and the characters lack sincerity because of it.
The lead actor, Christoffer Nordenrot, is also a co-writer, along with director Victor Danell. Their collective, Crazy Pictures, is used to making short films. Perhaps elongating this tale was too big of a task.
By combining a mediocre soap-opera family drama with a murky suspense-thriller, we do not get a satisfying result for either. “The Unthinkable” lacked a spark that could have gone a long way in building up suspense.
If you do sit through all 2 hours and 9 minutes of the film, stay for the credits – they post photos that indicate what might have happened, leading to 800,000 deaths.
“The Unthinkable” is a suspense sci-fi thriller, directed by Victor Danell, and stars Christoffer Nordenrot, Lisa Henni and Jesper Barkselius. It is in Swedish, with English subtitles and is not rated. The run time is 2 hours, 9 minutes, and it is in theaters and video on demand May 7. Lynn’s Grade: C.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.