In UNTHINKABLE (2018, Netflix), a Swedish thriller disaster film, a dysfunctional family splits apart and rediscovers each other during an invasion by a mysterious power. The action is surprising, realistic, and packs a ton of punch, though the film is dragged down a bit by the main protagonist, who is sympathetic but kinda unlikable.
In 2005, a teenager named Alex lives with his mother and Björn, a retired soldier prone to conspiracy theories about the Russians. Björn suffers from deep anger and paranoia, which he lacks the control to prevent from spilling onto his family. Alex’s best friend Anna, whom he’s in love with, is about to move away from the village. At Christmas, Björn goes too far, driving his wife away, and then Alex leaves too, showing signs he too now has a deep anger that threatens his ability to show or receive love.
Fast forward some years, and an adult Alex is on his way back to his village to buy something valuable to him. Along the way, a series of disasters builds, threatening Sweden’s government and much of its population. Clearly, this is a massive terrorist operation, but who is doing it, and why? The disaster forces Alex to reconnect with the people he left behind, and each of them will find resolution if not ultimate happiness in the horror.
The film is gritty in its realism, with plenty of wow moments in the violent bursts of action. Once things really get going, there is an overwhelming sense of doom, stripping the characters to the moral and psychological bone. The war itself is fascinating, depicting a large-scale sabotage operation to defeat a foreign power without actually invading it. The film is dark right to the end, though each of its characters finds a small bit of redemption for their mistakes.
Overall, I really liked this one and recommend it for those looking for something engaging and off-kilter in an apocalyptic or disaster/war film.