With the upcoming June 8 DVD/Blu-ray release of Unthinkable starring Samuel L. Jackson and Carrie-Anne Moss, we decided it was time to run down the 5 Most Harrowing Movie Interrogations on film!
"Torture you! That’s…. that’s a good idea. I like that one."
Michael Madsen’s masochistic torture dance wasn’t so much about extracting information as outright mutilating one of the cops who foiled the heist. As the Steeler’s Wheel classic "Stuck In The Middle With You" unfolds, Mr. Blonde slices off the cop’s ear in a scene that stands as one of director Quentin Tarantino’s most classically memorable.
"Was that as good for you as it was for me?" Madsen asks, before heading out to the car for a can of gasoline, which he returns with and proceeds to douse his victim. A surprise turn of events prevents the human blaze from kicking off, but our senses had been assaulted plenty enough by that point in the film.
Among the most incendiary and jagged any-last-words monologues in the history of film, the late Dennis Hopper’s greatest moment in his later era as an actor was as Clifford Worley in the film that cut Quentin Tarantino’s teeth. The famous "eggplant scene," where Christopher Walken tortures Hopper for information on his son’s whereabouts, only to have Hopper – who knows he’s not walking out of the situation no matter what – dismantle Walken’s sacred Sicilian ancestry, is six minutes of sheer cutthroat cinematic brilliance.
In this brilliant 1997 crime fiction tale, one of the greatest interrogation scenes in film history unfolds. The wood of an office chair creaks as Bud White (Russell Crowe) bears into it with his hands, trying not to lose control as Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) hammers two suspects for details on the whereabouts of a missing girl they suspect the young men have murdered. In the moment of truth, the chair bursts into splinters under Bud’s gripping pressure and he comes unhinged, bursting into the interrogation room and slamming the suspect up against the wall, forcing a gun with one bullet primed into his mouth and pulling the trigger until he gets an answer. Police brutality has never been so exhilarating and disturbing on film.
Ian Fleming’s love of sadomasochism rears its head in the Bond series every so often in the 007 films, but never more than in Casino Royale. After all, it’s hard to top a scene in which Bond is tied to a chair with the bottom cut out and has his man-parts whipped by villain Le Chiffre with "a three-foot-long carpet-beater in twisted cane".
Ever the man’s man, Bond steels himself for the inevitable, but every swing of the rope elicited gut-punch groans from every guy in every theater the film was shown in.
Man on Fire
As bodyguard and former CIA operative John Creasy (Denzel Washington) interrogates a thug in the Mexico City underworld for information on the kidnapping of nine year-old Pita (Dakota Fanning), he calmly cuts off the man’s fingers one by one, slowly, and then cauterizes the wound with the car’s cigarette lighter. With his hands taped to the steering wheel, the bad guy can only scream and beg for mercy as he loses digits one by one. Unsatisfied with the results of his interrogation, Creasy gives the guy a smoke and pushes the car off a cliff. The scene is just a hair more harrowing than another later in the same film, which features a bomb made into a makeshift suppository. We’ll just leave that one alone.