Trying to categorize The Unthinkable is not an easy task. A two-hour film, the original cut ran two and three quarters, that starts off as a grim domestic drama before escalating into a thriller and ultimately a war film with entirely too human stakes. Directed by Victor Danell (under the name Crazy Pictures) from a script he co-wrote with the film’s star Christoffer Nordenrot it’s an odd mix of genres that works a lot better than it should.
The Unthinkable begins in 2005 where Alex (Christoffer Nordenrot) lives with his constantly bickering parents. His father Björn (Jesper Barkselius) has an especially bad temper. The only thing that makes his life worthwhile is Anna (Lisa Henni). But circumstances separate them as well. Alex flees to the city where he’s squatting in a vacant apartment which fatefully contains a piano.
The film moves to the present. Alex is estranged from his father and has long since lost contact with Anna. He’s also a successful musician. Sweden is being rocked by acts of violence, Alex’s mother is one of the victims. He returns home to tell his father as the violence escalates. Is it terrorists or, as his father insists, the Russians? Or something else?
Shot on a budget of just under $2,000,000, much of which was crowdfunded, The Unthinkable is a great looking film. There are some impressive shots of a destroyed bridge, a massive car pile-up, and a helicopter crash that look like they came from a much bigger budgeted film. Combined with breathtaking cinematography that takes advantage of the surrounding forest with its frequent rain and mist it’s hard to believe this was done so cheaply.
The Unthinkable does its best to keep itself focused on its three leads. Yes, Alex and Anna are reunited amidst the chaos. And for the most part the film succeeds even when it slips into cliché territory such as Björn having to defend the power plant he works at.
The film does have its issues, the characters are not the most likable of people and it can be hard to feel for them at times. With the film running so long, this is an issue more than once. But The Unthinkable does overcome it and builds to a powerful ending.
The Unthinkable has some interesting plot twists that get it past its rough spots, but the less you know about them the better. Overall it is a worthwhile film to watch. It just played the Boston Underground Film Festival, hopefully, a deal for wider release will be announced soon.