Quickfire Review: The Numbers Station (2013)

Synopsis: 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

My Take


John Cusack is normally enough for me to watch any movie (with the exception of 2012. I won’t do it. I just……I just wont.) But even he is not enough to liven up The Numbers Station, one of the dullest “thrillers” I can remember. Set in the always shady world of deniable CIA covert ops, it starts off well enough with a preamble about the use of secret untraceable radio codes since WW2 to send messages to deep cover agents. The action then shifts to John Cusack dispatching of an ex-agent in a bar with professional ease. When he accidentally leaves a loose end for his partner to tidy up his conscience gets the better of him and he is shipped off to babysit a secret code broadcaster (Malin Akerman) in an undisclosed CIA base in Suffolk, England. It quickly becomes apparent though that some nefarious baddies want to access to broadcast their own sets of codes and Cusack and Akerman find themselves under siege.

Fine, the storyline was never going to win awards for originality. But it is so devoid of tension, action or direction that it took all my energy to keep through to the end. Which is saying something given it’s sub 90 minute running time. I just kept saying “the pay off is just around the corner…”. Then the credits rolled. It didn’t help that there was only a few henchmen causing them bother and most of the time the action was between a catatonic looking Cusack and a bored looking Ackerman. In fact Cusack looked jetlagged as if he landed in the UK went and filmed everything in one go and then flew back home.

The Numbers Station didn’t get a UK release and it’s not hard to see why. I’m sure Cusack and Ackerman enjoyed their stay in Suffolk though and the paycheck probably helped. Didn’t make me feel any more satisfied though when it was all over.

Conclusion: So dull and forgettable I almost forgot what I was writing about halfway through

Verdict: 3/10


Cast: John Cusack, Malin Ackerman, Liam Cunningham

3 replies »

    • I just couldn’t get past how tired John Cusack looked. And I know he is supposed to look weary, but he just looked bored and uninterested. I did watch it at 2am though so might have skewed my experience a little

      • He looked tired, no question. And I have certainly seen him more invested in other characters. But I thought he was okay.

        Just like the movie as a whole. It wasn’t special, wasn’t memorable, but I didn’t think it a complete waste of time either.

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