A train pulls into a railway station in the country. McGill is the only passenger off, and his friend John greets him. John leads him over to a car where Laport, his new client, is waiting. McGill finds him familiar but Laport says it’s unlikely they’ve met. As McGill gets in the car, the chauffeur knocks him out and John injects him with a sedative. They bundle McGill into the car and drive off.
When McGill wakes up, he finds himself in a comfortable bed. He gets up and looks around, and two armed guards let a maid, Judy, in. She says that she can’t answer his questions and directs him to his suitcase in the closet. McGill discovers that the door is locked and there are bars on the shuttered windows. Judy tells him to wait, but he breaks down the door. John is waiting and fires a warning shot, and assures McGill that they don’t wish him any harm. He leads McGill down the hall and says that they have a better deal for him worth $50,000. McGill wonders if the money comes from Laport, who he realizes is Colonel Davies. He knocks John out and tries to run, but the guards are waiting. John slaps McGill and tells him to come along.
Davies is waiting in his study and explains that McGill be providing them with a service rather than undertaking a job. They remind McGill that he was working for American Intelligence in 1958 in the Central African country of Equala. McGill denies it, and says that everyone recognizes Davies because he was President of the Equala before the revolution. John says that McGill needs a few days to think it over and has the guards take him back to his room. As he goes, they promise that they’ll help him improve his memory. Once McGill is gone, Davies clutches at his chest.
Back in his room, McGill uses a sharpened key to dig into the wallpaper. He finds the one-way mirror that John is watching him through, and Judy comes in with lunch. She refuses to provide details of the security force and points out the mirror, and McGill threatens to kill her. Judy says that they’d let her do it and McGill starts choking her. When there’s no response, McGill releases her and says that she’s going to have lunch for her. He points out that there are two plates of food and Judy figures that she was supposed to stay and eat. McGill watches her eat a bit of everything and then switches plates with her. He starts to pass out and realizes that that they drugged the salt.
When McGill wakes up, he finds himself in an operating theater. He’s strapped down and there are electrodes on his head. John comes in and tells McGill that he’s sick, and they’ll make him healthy with the right drugs and a little cooperation... and information about Equala.
McGill wakes up later in a padded cell. A wall slides aside, revealing a movie screen. A newsreel plays about Equala in 1957, which has been under British mandate since 1919. John watches through a peephole as the newsreel shows Davies meeting Dr. Joseph Gwabe, the First Chancellor. McGill passes out and John replays the footage over again. Judith enters the projection room and complains about the volume, and John explains that they have to keep turning it up to keep McGill’s interest. Judy tells John that her father wants to see him. Once he leaves, Judy goes to the peephole and watches as the footage starts again.
In Davies’ study, John helps his employer takes his medication. He says that McGill is on schedule but Davies wants another opinion. He goes to the projection room and is surprised to find Judy there. She asks if what they’re doing is necessary, and Davies assures her that eventually McGill will tell the truth. He reminds Judy that they were humiliated, beaten, and eventually exiled. Judy says that she can tell McGill is afraid even though he tries to hide it.
Davies returns to his study and tells him to proceed with the treatment. They bring McGill in for a meal with Davies, and Davies talks about how he civilized Equala until the Americans helped the revolutionaries take over. With McGill’s help, he plans to move back into Equala and save them. John brings up slides of Dr. Gwabe, and Davies reminds McGill that Gwabe sought U.S. help. There are slides of McGill arriving in Equala meeting with Gwabe. John offers him $50,000 for McGill’s signature telling the truth.
McGill jumps the two men and then runs out into the hallway. He tries a door and finds a mirror behind it. Another has the newsreel, and a third has an armed guard. The guard finally herds him back into the cell, and the footage plays again.
Later, John calls over the loudspeaker, waking McGill up. He discovers that the bed has been removed and all that is left is a chair and blanket with ten cigarettes. McGill discovers that they’ve taken his cigarettes, and the footage begins again. As McGill fades in and out of consciousness, Judy enters the projection room and John says that they are progressing but it will soon take a while. He reminds her of how he tortured Equalan revolutionaries to get results on Davies’ orders. Judy insists that they’re brainwashing McGill to achieve a goal, and John taunts her over her feelings.
Judy enters McGill’s cell with breakfast. He tells her to get out, and she warns him that things are going to get worse if he doesn’t give her father what he wants. Judy says that the people want Davies back, and insists that he’s done everything for Equala. She lets slip that Davies is her father and McGill grabs her and threatens to choke her. John, smiling, watches and waits. McGill finally releases Judy and tells her to get out and stay away in case he does it next time.
When Judy tells her father what happened, John says that it was a situation they could exploit. He knew that McGill wouldn’t kill Judy in cold blood, so he used the opportunity to show McGill how far they would go. Davies concedes that he did the right thing. Once John leaves, Judy is shocked that her father let John get away from him. She complains that the torturer enjoyed the situation, and warns that things are getting out of hand.Davies insists that their personal feelings don’t matter, and they have to prove to the world that they’re right. He says that they can only consider as a tool in their plans, and tells Judy to think the same of him.
John returns to the projection room and plays a recording of John telling him that Davies is crazy. The recording says that Davies will never release him, and advises McGill to take the easy way out. McGill tries to ignore the voices, reciting the months to block them out. John plays POV footage of a car speeding down a country road. It crashes into a truck and a startled McGill collapses. The footage cuts to someone walking through the brush. In the film, Davies steps out and says that he’s going to shoot McGill, and shots rings out. McGill ducks around the cell and the shots continue... and continue... and continue. McGill finally smashes the screen, and the wall opens to reveal Davies, John, and Judith. Lights shine in his face, and Davies advises him to sign a confession. When McGill refuses, they put him on trial and John advises Davies to imprison McGill permanently. Davies says that they should kill him since he’s unrepentant, and McGill passes out.
Later, John enters the cell and offers McGill a cigarette. He says that he came unofficially and advises McGill to sign the confession. He insists that he’s innocent of treason despite American Intelligence’s claims, and John says that he’ll always have the hope of clearing himself later. The guards usher McGill down the hall to where Davies is waiting. Davis picks up a gun and has the guards sit McGill down. He says that he’s going to kill him unless he signs the confession. McGill goes to the desk and stares at the confession, but then crumples it and figures that they could have forged his confession. He asks what Davies really wants, and punches him. The guards quickly subdue him but McGill manages to secretly pocket a letter opener.
Once they’re alone, John realizes that McGill took the letter opener. Davies, clutching at his chest, says that now they can put an end to the business. John assures him that it’s all been arranged and he’s sure that McGill is ready. Davies says that he’s ready and John leaves.
Judy goes to the projection room and finds John and the guards packing everything away. She demands to see McGill, and goes to see her father. Her father says that McGill will do what they want, and says that she has to leave immediately for Geneva. He refuses to let her see McGill, and promises that Equala will have a civilized government again. Judy reluctantly leaves, and Davies hopes that she’ll remember him. John comes in and Davies gives him a packet with stocks, bonds, and the addresses of their “friends.” The major says that Davies can rely on him, and Davies gives him an envelope to give to Judy in Geneva. The two men say their goodbyes and John leaves.
In the cell, McGill tries to pry the door open with the letter opener. When that doesn’t work, he works on the projector screen panel. Davies watches him through the peephole and releases the panel, and McGill slips through into the hallway. He finds a gun on a table and makes his way to Davies’ study. Davies tries to grab his gun and McGill stops him, and Davies tells him to shoot. McGill realizes that Davies wants him to kill him and make him a martyr, proving there was a conspiracy against him.
An armed John comes in and orders McGill to drop the gun. Once McGill does so, John explains that Davies is sick in mind and body, and sick enough to believe that dying would reignite his cause. He says that they’ve insured Davies to raise political funds, and prepares to kill Davies since McGill won’t. McGill grabs the gun and shoots John, who shoots him in the shoulder. He then pistol-whips Davies and staggers out. Furious, Davies yells at McGill to shoot himand give his death some meaning. McGill ignores him and staggers out, and discovers that the entire house was s ham. He was in a Quonset hut in a London lot.
A waiting Judy runs over and asks what happened, and McGill tells her to tend to her father. He assures her that he’ll be back and Judy runs inside, while McGill collapses and a bobbie comes over to help him.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 17, 2015