‘Unknown,’ a “who the hell am I, who the hell are you” action thriller, is everything absurd thing you can imagine in a movie. Much of the movie is one ridiculous scene after another with plot contrivances that you just have to laugh at, but, the subject matter is so interesting, that you forgive the plausibilities of the story and give in to its over the top implausibilities. At the end of the day, you do want to entertain yourself, correct? This is one to have fun with and laugh at in disbelief. Oh, and did I mention the unbelievable plot twist at the end?
Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson), an American university professor in Berlin, goes to a biotechnology conference with his young wife, Elizabeth (January Jones). When a baggage mix-up necessitates a quick return to the airport, Martin departs without a word to his wife while she is checking into the hotel. His cab is involved in a serious accident. After he awakens at the hospital after 4 days, he discovers that his wife (January Jones) suddenly doesn’t recognize him and another man (Aidan Quinn) has assumed his identity. Ignored by disbelieving authorities and hunted by assassins, he finds himself alone, tired, and on the run. On his own in a strange country, Martin seeks aid from an unlikely and reluctant source (Diane Kruger) as he plunges headlong into a deadly mystery that will force him to question his sanity, his identity, and just how far he’s willing to go to uncover the truth.
Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan) captures well the foreign feeling that James Bond films do so well. The color filters he uses are appealing and the action scenes are top notch. Jaume keeps on getting better with each passing film, but I hope he doesn’t think in anyway that this is his best work. His previous thriller ‘Orphan’ could have been one of the best films of 2009, were not it for the twisted ending.
Liam Neeson, a nominated Oscar performer, is becoming a top flight ‘Jason Statham like’ B actor. His movie Taken from 2008, was a hit and seems to be the visual basis for ‘Unknown’. They literally, look like the same film. Actress January Jones, known from her work in the TV series Mad Men, is just horrible. She’s stiff, uninvolved and deadpan. Outside of her looks, Ms. Jones shouldn’t see the lens of a camera. I have no idea of how she got this far.
There are no real dull moments to endure with ‘Unknown’. This film definitely delivers all the thrills and action, along with a fantastic storyline worth sitting through… even if it is a bit too preposterous for ones taste.
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