• Unthinkable
    , starring Samuel L. Jackson, has gained newfound popularity on Netflix with its controversial themes and intense scenes of torture.
  • Despite mixed reviews, the movie’s bold approach to its divisive topic and strong performances have attracted viewers to its resurgence.
  • The controversial subject matter of
    raises questions about the ethics of torture and the idea that the end justifies the means in political crises.



Samuel L. Jackson’s thriller Unthinkable has recently received renewed interest since hitting Netflix. Directed by Gregor Johnson and penned by British screenwriter and stuntman Peter Woodward, the movie stars Jackson with Michael Sheen, Brandon Routh, and Carrie-Anne Moss in supporting roles. The plot revolves around the torture of an American Muslim and bomb expert who has planted explosives in three US cities. Although the movie was praised for its dramatic weight, it attracted controversy due to its subject matter and scenes of torture and violence. The movie was released direct-to-video after no distributor could be found after funding from Senator Films fell through.

Almost 14 years after the movie’s release, it has experienced a surge in popularity on Netflix. The movie has ascended onto Netflix’s US Top 10 movies list for the week of March 11 to March 17, 2024. Although the viewership numbers were not disclosed, the movie ranked as the eighth most-watched film on the streaming platform’s list in its first week on the chart, beating out The Boss Baby (no. 10) and Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (no.9).

Here is the cast list for Unthinkable:



Samuel L. Jackson

Henry Harold Humphries/H

Carrie-Anne Moss

Special Agent Helen Brody

Michael Sheen

Yusuf Atta Mohammed/Steven Arthur Younger

Brandon Routh

Special Agent D.J. Jackson

Gil Bellows

Special Agent Paul Vincent

Why Was Unthinkable So Controversial?

The thriller showed some grueling moments of torture and violence.

Samuel L. Jackson holding a knife at Martin Sheen's face in Unthinkable

received mixed reviews, and though many felt the movie was controversial, some praised it for its drama, acting, and bold approach to its divisive topic.

Samuel L. Jackson is officially the highest-grossing actor of all time, with his projects grossing a collective total of $27 billion, and has one of the most prolific careers in Hollywood. The actor has appeared in many blockbusters, but Unthinkable represents a more independent project for Jackson. The movie’s controversial subject matter, as well as the graphic depictions of violence and torture, were likely disturbing and difficult to watch for viewers.

While Unthinkable might not rank as one of Samuel L. Jackson’s best movies, the movie leaves viewers with plenty of questions and curiosities. Controversial political themes and exploration of the idea that the end justifies the means is not a new approach to storytelling, with other movies and shows that have explored themes like this. For example, every season of 24 would involve some political crisis in which Jack Bauer would be forced to decide how far he was willing to go to save lives. However, 24‘s expansive real-time approach gave audiences a respite from the violence, something that cannot be said of Unthinkable.

Unthinkable received mixed reviews, and though many felt the movie was controversial, some praised it for its drama, acting, and bold approach to its divisive topic. Regardless of the negative press the movie got at its time of release, its resurgence on Netflix shows that there is still an audience for movies of this kind. Furthermore, the critical acclaim of movies like 2019’s The Report has shone more of a spotlight on the approach the government takes to interrogation and how this is dramatized on screen. With the streaming success of Unthinkable, it could be the case that more movies with this premise should be made in the coming years.

Source: Netflix

Watch Unthinkable On Netflix

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