John Cusack as a killer with a conscience? Didn’t I already see this one before? Oh no, wait… this is a new movie. In The Numbers Station, Cusack plays a hardened CIA agent who gets banished to a remote short-wave radio station in England after having failed to eliminate a witness during a mission.
The station is used to broadcast kill orders to CIA operatives around the world using encrypted codes read by civilian employees. In Cusack’s case that civilian is Katherine (Malin Akerman), a pretty American who thinks that Cusack is around to protect her while he’s actually there to kill her if the code is compromised. What should be a simple and mind-numbing assignment, quickly turns into a cat and mouse game when the station’s security is breached by a couple of baddies who want to send out orders to kill the CIA’s top employees.
While Akerman and Cusack try to find out who is attacking them, they also have to deal with each other’s increasing mistrust. While the storyline may sound decent enough, its execution is not. It’s all a little too predictable and while Akerman does her best to inject the movie with some much-needed lightheartedness, Cusack doesn’t even so much as blink. You can’t really blame the guy though… I would be bored too if I was starring in a movie that came without any character development and bland shootouts in a high-tech, heavily secured bunker where the only thing they forgot to install were the lights.