I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by The Numbers Station. Going on John Cusack's recent venture into silly, inconsequential direct to video thrillers without depth or heft, I expected a mind numbing cash grab with his moniker shamelessly plastered in pre title billing. I only watched it for a couple of actors I really enjoy, and what I got was thoroughly fun, slow burning spy thriller that took its time, built the characters and focused on mood and story instead of just action filler. During and after the Cold War, Numerous 'Numbers Stations' were planted all over Europe, facilities where operatives would reside, broadcasting codes in the form of random sequences of digits, all over the region to various agents, who would read them, and carry out the orders embedded within. Cusack's plays a disgraced agent who is assigned to accompany a coder (Malin Ackerman) to a remote station, and protect her and the premises. They arrive and are immediately at odds with each other. Ackerman is a rookie spook with idealistic values and a sunshiny demeanour that irks Cusack right off the bat. He has acres of tragedy behind him, curdling his personality into a jaded, hangdog presence, essentially just wearily carrying out the motions with listless resignation. The script wisely gives them time to bicker about their differences, learn a bit about each other and form a shaky bond before the inevitable conflict rears its head, in the form of a rogue special ops unit led by a determined psychopath (Richard Brake). Their aim is to hijack the numbers stations broadcasting capabilities and send out codes of their own containing orders to do God knows what. It's up to Cusack to prevent this, giving him new purpose. The underrated Liam Cunningham briefly shows up as Cusack's morally bankrupt partner who ends up having a crisis of conscience, and portrays it really well as only Cunnningham can do. It's not a movie to rave about, but it's a solid, moody thriller for lovers of the genre, perfect for a lazy rainy night.