Unknown

Unknown is generally an interesting movie, with effective suspense, a somewhat believable storyline, mostly good actors, and a finale that more or less satisfies.

Here’s a trailer:

The deets:

Released February 18, 2011

Written by Oliver Butcher, and Steven Cornwell, based on the novel Out of My Head by Didier Van Cauwelaert

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring: Diane Kruger, January Jones, Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, Frank Langella, and Sebastian Koch

Rated: PG-13

*     *     *     *     *

Story

Martin Harris (Neeson) has just arrived in Moscow with his wife Elizabeth (Jones) for an important conference. But he leaves a briefcase at the airport by mistake and leaves his wife to check into the hotel by herself. On his way to the airport, the cab he’s in is in an accident and he nearly dies, although the lady driver rescues him.

He wakes from a brief coma with some partial amnesia. He remembers that he’s in Moscow with his wife for a conference, but when he goes to the hotel and finds Elizabeth, she doesn’t recognize him and a different man (Quinn) is Martin Harris. Nobody recognizes him; it seems his life has been erased or usurped.

Harris tracks down the cabbie, Gina (Kruger), and she recognizes him, leading him to realize something nefarious is happening. Now Harris has to uncover what is happening to him, but the truth is far beyond what he expected and he also ends up having to save the life of a terrorist target.

Everything culminates in a showdown between the two Martins, and that fight is kind of epic. How could it not be? Two aging Irish actors beating the tar out of each other is fine holiday fun.

Critique

The single worst aspect of Unknown is January Jones. She is bland, dull, flat, and altogether off-putting. Every time she’s on screen, her energy-suckness removes the viewer from the film. This person needs to get out of entertainment and perhaps take up a career in carpentry.

Otherwise, Unknown is an intriguing concept that is explored well. The writing is certainly nothing stunningly fresh, and the action film unfolds in a generally formulaic fashion. But with a lead like Liam Neeson, and with Diane Kruger very convincing in her cabby with a conscience role, this is an enjoyable film. Frank Langella makes a late entry and he makes the most of an enigma of a role.

The most redeeming factor of how this movie unfolds is that the real Harris, while he does have to get physical, uses his brains to overcome the baddies. Sure, the likely medically unfounded amnesia is a little convenient, but Neeson pulls it off.

Content warnings: plenty of action violence, some swearing, a little sensuality

Writing: 3.5         Acting: 4          Overall: 3.5

Don’t think it’s unknown to me how much you share this review with your social networks. Any less than three different links and I will find you and give you amnesia.

Or not.

Yeah, probably not.

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About jared

Jared Garrett works as a writer, the manager of a program development department in the corporate world, and an instructional designer. He is a family man with an adorable, fun, and way-too-smart wife, six silly kids, a new house with an overgrown back yard, seven fish, and a bunch of chickens. He has written fiction, user manuals, SEO copy, radio scripts and textbooks and has won first place in the Mayhew writing contest at BYU and received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest. He lives at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains and is currently seeking representation for his myriad completed novels.
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