on November 3, 2012
Unknown was a very well written script that kept me intrigued, throughout. The viewer starts off thinking the best of the main character, then realisations start to come together. Though I have seen elements of this type of plot before, this one absolutely kept me guessing and working on trying to figure things out.
Nicely done. Good action thrown in to keep the film exciting. It definitely has a similar feel to the Bourne Legacy.
Highly recommended. Very exciting viewing for a Friday Night!
Unknown (drama, mystery, thriller)
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger and January Jones
Warner Bros. | 2011 | 113 min | Rated PG-13 | Released Jun 21, 2011
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
50GB Blu-ray Disc
DVD copy (with digital copy)
The Film 4/5
Unknown's plot is extremely simple once you know a key piece of information, but that's not revealed until late in the movie. As a result, you'll find yourself confused and having to guess what's really going on. On first viewing, Unknown is full of mystery and puts the viewer in the position of the main protagonist, Martin Harris (Neeson). Like Memento, the story keeps letting us see events in a new context and their meaning changes as a result.
Harris flies into Berlin with wife Liz (Jones) for a biotechnology conference. He's one of the speakers. While getting into a taxi at the airport, he leaves behind a briefcase containing his passport and vital documents. Does that seem like the act of a man with the supposed intelligence of Harris? He notices that it's missing when they arrive at the hotel and jumps into another taxi while his wife checks in. There's no signal for his phone (really) so he can't explain his actions.
The taxi is involved in an accident and plunges into a river. The driver, Gina (Kruger), pulls him out and then runs off leaving him in the hands of the medics. He wakes up in hospital and all he can remember is his name and that he's married to Liz, who doesn't know where he is. The doctor tells him that he's been in a coma for four days.
Luckily, he sees a story about the conference on TV in his room and remembers that he's supposed to be attending. It shows the hotel where he was supposed to check in. How convenient. After checking out and going to the hotel, he sees his wife at a reception. The problem is she says that she doesn't know him. She even introduces another man as her husband, Martin Harris. The hotel security men throw him out. Are you confused yet? Is he really Martin Harris? Is everything we are seeing just some coma-induced dream? Is he crazy?
The story continues with Harris trying to prove his identity. He finds Gina and she agrees to help him. He also phones a friend in the US who he knows can confirm his identity. His memories slowly start to return and he notes everything he can remember. One piece of information tells him that he has a meeting arranged with Professor Bressler, who he communicated with by phone and email for a while. Maybe Bressler can confirm his identity? It wouldn't explain his wife's actions, but it would be a start.
I won't reveal any more of the story because it would ruin the mystery, but it contains a few glaring plot holes. The exposition is also laughable at times and assumes that the audience is pretty dumb. My favorite example is: "So that's got all your secrets in it, right?"
You might be wondering why I gave the movie such a high score if it's full of so many plot holes and stupid dialogue. The reason is it somehow works. Neeson is such a good actor that he pulls it off. I found myself actually caring about his predicament and wanting to see him resolve it. Most of the supporting cast does a great job too and I was especially impressed with Bruno Ganz and Frank Langella.
Did you see the movie posters advertising the theatrical run? It showed Neeson holding a gun and looking ready to take on the world. In short, it was marketed as Taken 2. If you buy the movie on the strength of that image, you may be disappointed. Neeson doesn't touch a gun at any point in the movie. There are a couple of car chases and scenes full of action, but this is nothing like Taken. Neeson does get into a couple of fights, but this is more a mystery than an action movie. Fans of Taken might like Neeson enough to enjoy this too, but be aware that the two movies are very different.
I found myself invested in the story, even though I could see that parts of it were contrived or even ludicrous. Neeson plays it dead straight and is believable in his role. Kruger did a good job as his sidekick. I've watched the movie twice now and will be happy to watch it again despite its flaws.
Video Quality 4.5/5
I have no complaints about the picture quality. Fine grain is present throughout and detail is always strong. I detected one slightly noisy image in a dark scene, but that's a minor quibble. Colors look accurate and the presentation is clean and bright. You'll be very happy when you see it.
Audio Quality 5/5
The movie starts quietly, but gradually increases in volume as the action rises. Dialogue is always clear, but the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track really starts to shine when we see the car crash. The action scenes in the final act all benefit from heavy use of the surrounds and you'll feel like you're in the middle of the action. The audio presentation is flawless.
Special Features 1/5
There are two HD features which run for a total of nine minutes and the content of each overlaps with the other. I hoped for much more.
Liam Neeson: Known Action Hero (4:33) - Brief interviews with the cast and crew about the making of the film.
Unknown: What is Unknown (4:24) - Similar in content to the opening feature, but it's more of an extended advertisement and appears to have been shot before the movie was released.
I'm not sure what Unknown is supposed to be. There are too many holes for it to be a serious drama or compelling mystery, but there's not really enough action for it to fall into that genre. If you go into it with the right attitude, you'll probably enjoy it. I had fun watching it the first time and enjoyed seeing it on Blu-ray. For fans of Neeson, it's worth adding to your collection. For action fans, it could fail to meet expectations. The Blu-ray presentation certainly won't disappoint, but there's very little in the way of special features.
Overall score 4/5
on August 5, 2014
This one has you guessing until the very end. Liam Neeson is a man who can't remember who he is, and what he does remember isn't validated by the ones he thinks he knows! Every step is more confusing as the one before and you keep thinking "who is this man". I can't say more or I will give away the ending, just let me say by the end you aren't even sure if the truth is the truth! This one is worth the watch. 5 stars for Liam and "Unknown".
on March 13, 2014
This movie is one of the bests of Liam Neeson ! As of lately, he made Non-Stop (2014), with the same director. And you can clearly see why Neeson is Jaume Collet-Serra's favorite. The guy know exactly how to play theses kind of roles with lot of mystery and intrigue. Very good cast, also Diane Kruger (Troy), January Jones (Seeking Justice) and Aidan Quinn (Legends of the Fall). Highly recommended !! 8,5/10
Along with his wife, Liam Neeson is in Berlin for a biotech conference. He forgets his briefcase at the airport and realizes this when they arrive at the hotel. He takes a cab ride back to the airport to retrieve the briefcase and has an accident along the way. Four days later he awakens from his coma, after being dead for 7 minutes. He has no ID.
He goes to the hotel where he sees his wife, except she is with a man whp has the same name as his (Martin Harris) and he claims that he is her husband and his wife likewise makes the same claim! At this point I was divided as to what is going on. Is this a Twilight Zone where a guy goes to an alternate reality? Maybe a "Dark City" experiment. Is this an elaborate hoax? If so why is his wife a part of it? Maybe they decided to remake Hauser's Memory (am I showing my age?) Liam contacts the underground in Berlin to help him find out what is going on.
The acting was good, as expected. The chase and action scenes were about a C+. It could have used some good swagger music, which seems to be the norm in modern movies.
No sex or nudity. Thank you Frank Langella for keeping your pants on.
on June 2, 2015
We were half expecting another formulaic cliché ridden, honest-man-wronged Hollywood conspiracy thriller clone. Thankfully, we were more than half wrong. Despite ticking all of the genre boxes and despite a more than passing nod towards The Long Kiss Goodnight, this film completely fails to disappoint. Neeson is, of course, brilliant, the plot twists and turns most satisfactorily and there is never a dull moment even after you've worked out what's going on. In spite of being relatively unknown, Jaume Collet-Serra directs with a firm grip on suspense worthy of Bruckheimer or Scott so the film never runs out of steam. A Taken it is not, nor is it anywhere near a Bourne, but it is nonetheless a cleverly constructed and entertaining addition to the conspiracy thriller genre.
on September 17, 2012
Firstly, this movie reminded me of the Bourne movies-A LOT! That isn't a bad thing cause those movies are great, but Liam Neeson is no Matt Damon. I didn't like Liam as the lead role. They should have cast someone younger. I don't like the title of the movie. Overall, I enjoyed it for what it was. It kept me guessing and then ending was explosive (wink wink).