The Numbers Station is currently available on Netflix.
One-line review: I give it a 3 of 5 – one each for Cusack, premise, and execution.
The Numbers Station (2013) – Rated R
“A disgraced black ops agent is dispatched to a remote CIA broadcast station to protect a code operator. Soon, they find themselves in a life-or-death struggle to stop a deadly plot before it’s too late.”
John Cusack continues his slow decline into direct-to-video productions with The Numbers Station. I have to wonder if Cusack got into financial trouble as Nicolas Cage did and now he just has to take as many parts as quickly as possible. This year alone Cusack is in Doll & Em, The Numbers Station, Adult World, The Frozen Ground (with Con Air co-star, Nicolas Cage!), Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Grand Piano, Motel, and No somos animales.
The Numbers Station is a by-the-numbers (sorry) siege film. The reason for the location is unique but otherwise this is a nondescript, industrial hideaway for two spies under siege by other spies for nefarious purposes. This is the sort of film that is typically made in Eastern Europe though here it is filmed in England. Obviously the (mostly) single location photography saves money and Cusack is the only star. Malin Akerman is good as Katherine and, to its credit, there is no romantic subplot shoehorned into the narrative.
The Numbers Station is certainly elevated by Cusack’s presence as Emerson, a world weary black ops agent. The film and overall plot are amusing diversions even if the moral conundrums are undercooked (there is no doubt how Emerson is going to react to a certain situation that arises) and the ending is quite ludicrous.
WATCH: Game of Thrones star Liam (Davos Seaworth) Cunningham has a small role as one of Emerson’s (Cusack) bosses.