Five Fingers (2006)

Five Fingers (2006) has Ryan Phillippe and Laurence Fishburne as the two leads. Basically, this is a psychological/suspense/spy movie. Phillippe plays Martijn, a blue-eyed blonde Dutch jazz pianist who will travel to Morocco, to set up a food program. Fishburne plays Ahmat, his Muslim terrorist interrogator.

Also on board is Touriya Haoud as Saadia who is Martijn’s Dutch Moroccan girl friend, Gina Torres as Aicha who plays the helpful female on Ahmat’s staff, and Colm Meaney as Gavin, a tour guide to help Phillippe’s Martijn navigate through Morocco.

To give you an idea of what to expect – Martijn is a jazz pianist. He has Saadia as his girl friend. We will see them romp and play on one of The Netherland’s idyllic North Sea beaches and we learn he will soon travel to Morocco to help set up a food program. Ostensibly it is a food charity to help the poor in third world Morocco.

He will hook up with his guide Gavin, and they depart from Amsterdam’s Schilphol Airport. From Rabat, they head out on a cross-country bus toward the Rif Mountains. While en route, both Martijn and Gavin are hijacked off the bus, rendered unconscious, and when they awake, they find themselves chained and manacled in an unused industrial factory or warehouse.

Fishburne as Ahmat believes Martijn to be a CIA Operative on a mission. He believe the food program is just a cover story. The interrogation begins. Soon the psychological torture become actual and physical torture. Gavin will be dealt with a certain finality, and Martijn is going to start losing his fingers one by one.

It is a battle of wills, of intelligence, and one of courage under the harshest of circumstances.

While this is a movie, as most of it is shot within the confines of this abandoned factory, and with the small size of the main cast, one can easily imagine the screenplay as a stage play. Directed by Laurence Malkin. and written by Malkin with Chad Thurmann the small confines serve to amp up the drama rather than simply confining it.

With torture, adult language, and sexual references present – don’t bring the kids to watch this.

While the film has a good amount of intensity, and it’s ending is quite thought-provoking, the film is flawed in both the story narrative as well as some of the unseen and unstated facts that we create as we connect the dots. While I will say that I was surprised by how the film ended, I can’t say that I pleased by the events. But that would involve me getting into serious spoiler territory.

Still, watching Fishburne as the cool, calm, and cold interrogator was rewarding. Fishburne brings an elegance to the proceedings which are basically located in a mostly inelegant location. Haoud as the Dutch Moroccan gf was nice to look at. Ryan Phillippe was the central character, and while he wasn’t bad, his portrayal of a man facing the abyss, was not the best thing in the film. Then again, I thought he had the most difficult role in the film.

I’ll rate the film at three-point five zero. Which means it is above average, but not really anything astounding or even memorable. But having said that, watching the two leads duel it out, is a good basis for a film, and even if it  didn’t become a hit film, or a must-see film – this genre is in itself – something that I like to watch.

Below is the trailer and you will see a chess board in play. It is both a literal and figurative representation of the film. Have a look.

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