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The Numbers Station Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 20

    out of 100

    The New York Times Jeannette Catsoulis

    This dreary spy drama is as flat and airless as the concrete bunker in which it unfolds.

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  • 20

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times Robert Abele

    A predictable hodgepodge of uninteresting psychological cat-and-mouse, dimly lighted action.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Bill Stamets

    Director Kasper Barfoed defaults to intense replays of surveillance audio recordings, frantic strokes on computer keyboards, and standard-issue chases.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Village Voice Chuck Wilson

    There are some decent shootouts, but the movie's strongest assets are the soulful performances Danish director Kasper Barfoed, making his American debut, draws from Cusack and Akerman.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Effective (if violent) thriller offers mini history lesson.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Numbers Station is a thriller in which one of the main characters is a trained killer who shoots and kills many people. But he also saves the other main character, performing emergency medical procedures on her (blood is shown). There are also some explosions, including a huge one during the film's climax. Language is fairly strong, with about a dozen uses of "f--k" and a few uses of "s--t." The two main characters have a subtle romantic tension, but there's no kissing, innuendo, or sex. A major character and a minor one both claim to have drinking problems, and both are seen drinking. On the plus side, teens may learn a little something about the "numbers stations" that were used to transmit coded information during WWII, and in the years since.

  • Families can talk about The Numbers Station's violence. Was it necessary for the main character to shoot and kill so many people? What makes him sympathetic to audiences?
  • What did you learn about "numbers stations" from this movie? Could there have been more information in it that would have helped the story?
  • How does the movie approach drinking?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The cynical main character eventually learns to give up on his beliefs and training in order to open himself up to another person. Also, audiences can learn a little about "numbers stations" and the way they broadcasted coded transmissions during WWII (and, apparently still do).

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Both of the main characters are serving their country, but they either perform deeds that they don't understand (like sending secret codes), or distasteful and illegal ones (like murder). Ultimately, they decide that their humanity is more important than their job.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: The main character is a trained killer, and he shoots and kills several men over the course of the film. Bad guys shoot back at him and blow up a car. In a fantasy sequence, the main character envisions killing the heroine of the movie. In real life, he fixes her wounds, pulls a hunk of shrapnel from her leg, and stitches her leg up. Blood is shown. There's a huge explosion at the climax.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Some minor romantic tension between the two main characters; by the end, it appears that they're going to be a couple, but there's no kissing, innuendo, or sex of any kind. In an early scene, a man touches a woman's back, indicating that they're a couple.

  • language false4

    Language: Language is fairly infrequent but includes about a dozen uses of "f--k" and a couple of uses of "s--t." "Bastard," "ass," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation) and "oh my God" are also used.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The main character claims that he "was a drunk" but that he gave up drinking. Nonetheless, he's seen drinking alone in a hotel room early in the film. A minor character also claims that he hasn't had a drink in three years but drinks a shot of scotch.