I wonder why Sean Bean has always played second fiddle, and never a lead, despite his good look, manliness, and strong physique. So I was delighted to find this film, but yet he was still in a supporting role. So don’t let the trailer fools you, cause it was selling the film as one of the classified secret operations with the British Intelligence. Its objective was to uncover an cladestine cell in London, before suicide bombers killed more people.
The story was probably based on London’s July 7, 2005 bombings, that speculated a cover-up story involved MI5. Cleanskin, a British term, defines as someone who has no criminal records, nor under any intelligence agency radars. You could call them fanatic, lone-killer, or single terrorist.
Be forewarned that this is not your typical story with CIA, MI5, DGSE…, and Sean Bean’s Edwin is not a superhero, doesn’t have fancy car, nor avant-garde electronic devices. As his CO, Charlotte (Charlotte Rampling) says, “let’s do it old school!”: body combats, knife, or gun.
Edwin is one of the security officers for an important business person, Harry(Sam Douglas), who seems to have regular business with the British secret agency; he was gunned down under his protection by a masked man, who escaped, injured, with the suitcase carried by Harry. At the debrief, Charlotte tells Edwin that the suitcase is loaded with C-4s. Charlotte’s boss, Scott(James Fox), is adamant that those must be recovered before it starts a media storm that will shut down his operations. Edwin is teamed with a new agent, Mark(Tom Burke), to follow a lead: high-price escort, Rena (Shivani Ghai), Harry’s regular.
Ash(Abhin Galeya), the lead, a non-pratising muslim, born and lives in London. He attended law school, which he eventually discredited its usefulness, because of his idea of hypocrisy with the system. Ash believes stabilisation of a state or country can only come from power of control. At a chance meeting, Kate(Tuppence Middleton) sees his ex-boyfriend, Ash, and exchange phone numbers.
Then the film took us back six years ago and told us the relationship between the two, and how Ash was recruited by Nabil(Peter Polycarpou).
Back to present day, a suicide bomb decimates a restaurant and kills 20. Edwin and Mark must retrieve those C-4s before they run out of time. The case has eight(8) in it.
This film is eerily similar to what might have happened in Paris last Friday (Nov 13, 2015). Although this was a ficitonal movie, part of it seemed plausible. The way Ash was recruited, the story he was told, and the beliefs in Islam. It also showed his internal conflicts, and dissonance created between the two countries he belonged: by birth and by race. His confusion was further inflicted with the feelings he had with Kate.
The film is one of those we never knew it existed until you gave it a chance. Bean and Rampling are assurance for its worthiness to watch., perhaps.
WATCH… just remember this is not a James Bond type spy thriller, even though it is British. And also, I didn’t really tell you the juicy part, which no doubt was probable.