Thursday, July 9, 2009

Five Fingers DVD


DVD Review by Kam Williams


Headline: DVD Features Fishburne and Phillippe in Cat-and-Mouse Thriller


            Upon landing in Morocco on a flight from Holland in order to start a foundation for needy children, Martijn (Ryan Phillippe) and his British guide, Gavin (Colm Meaney), are stabbed with a syringe and abducted from a bus before they had even reached their destination. When the drugged Dutchman comes around, he discovers they’ve been blindfolded and shackled to a chair by religious zealots who have mistaken them not merely for Americans, but for CIA agents to boot.

            Soon, Gavin learns the hard way not to use a sarcastic tone with terrorists, when he dares them to kill him and they rise to the challenge. Frightened and alone, Martijn suddenly finds himself face-to-face with the ruthless Ahmat (Laurence Fishburne) who will stop at nothing to get to the truth of why this foreigner came to the country with a million dollars in cash in his luggage.

Martijn does his best to explain that his Moroccan girlfriend back in the Netherlands, Saadia (Touriya), can’t have any kids, and that’s what inspired him to do charity work with orphans from her homeland. Ahmat doesn’t dig the answer so he summarily chops off one of his captive’s fingers with a paper cutter.

That gives you a good idea where the title Five Fingers comes from, and also of the tactic most popular with the leader of this bloodthirsty terrorist cell. Unfortunately, other than an occasional break for a friendly game of chess with his prisoner, Ahmat is mostly interested in torture. He also enjoys playing good cop/bad cop by passing Martijn off to Aicha (Gina Torres), the seemingly-empathetic nurse brought in to bandage him up between sessions.

While we wait for the cavalry to arrive, the question this claustrophobic cat-and-mouse thriller poses is whether America ought to be bracing itself for a backlash by Muslim extremists in the wake of Abu Ghraib and other admitted violations of the Geneva Conventions. A thought-provoking mindbender unfolding in one room and narrowly focused on a grisly, gradually-escalating standoff.

Hey, I guess even in the Middle East, like Charlie Rich sings, “No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.”


Very Good (2.5 stars)

Rated R for torture, violence, profanity and sexual references. 

Running time: 87 minutes

Studio: Lionsgate Home Entertainment

DVD Extras: A trivia track and “Endgame,” a behind-the-scenes featurette.


To purchase a copy of Five Fingers, visit





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