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Drama - Spies

The Numbers Station (2013)

Duration1h 29m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, elsewhere mostly 16.
Source of storyAn original screenplay
DirectorKasper Barfoed
Writers/ScriptF. Scott Frazier
StarringJohn Cusack, Malin Ackerman, Liam Cunningham, Lucy Griffiths, 
RatingsIMDb: 5.6 by 19,079 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 30% by 27 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch: When Emerson Kent, a CIA black ops man, bodges an assassination he is demoted to being one of a team looking after a Numbers Station in southern England, from which female operatives broadcast number sequences to agents in the field, who decode them using one time pads. When he and Katherine, the coder, arrive at work one day they are fired on by a sniper, and once inside the station find that, firstly there is a villain in there with them who has to be terminated, and secondly that the other shift personnel have had to send false messages to the agents out there, which will result in disaster. What to do?

Content: No sex or nudity, and one occasion where drinking takes place. Emerson kills some men, but fails to terminate the daughter of one. This results in his demotion. Once at the Numbers Station we see him collect Katherine from the local train, daily and their boring routine develops. Once under fire there is a lot of creeping about in the underground bunker, as well as the retrieval of recording of what passed between the villains and the other team, which give us some flashbacks. 

A View: I think this was an almost straight to video movie, the cost probably in a few millions and the box office a few thousand. Not all aspects of the plot were clear to me, even though I paid strict attention to the presentation, but on reading the Wikipedia summary it seemed like a pretty good idea, poorly presented. Maybe the director’s fault. Or maybe it is just me. I usually like films where things are not quite what they appear to be, which was the intent in this case, so it is one of those films which could have been fine, but is actually not worth watching, even for nothing.

Additional Info: Katherine arrives at work by train and I was intrigued that the carriages seemed to be so old fashioned, not to mention the signalling. The scenes were filmed  at the “East Anglian Railway Museum”.  

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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