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Unknown / Hors de moi (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
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The surprise hit Taken, from 2008, contained a number of red meat pleasures, but chief among them was Liam Neeson's reinvention as an action hero, turning his trademark wounded brusqueness and gentle-giant physique towards new, head-clunking avenues. Despite an ad campaign that makes it appear to be a direct action-packed continuation of that earlier film, Unknown proves to be a somewhat different creature--a sleek mystery that occasionally gives in to temptation and lets its hulking star call down the righteous thunder. Based on a novel by Didier Van Cauwelaert, the story follows a mild-mannered botanist in Berlin with his wife (Mad Men's January Jones) for a mysterious scientific conference. After a freak car accident, he wakes up in the hospital with scrambled memories, missing identification, and--most ominously--someone else claiming to be him. Director Jaume Collet-Serra, previously responsible for the admirably berserko Orphan, handles the early paranoiac cloak-and-dagger passages with aplomb (and delivers one quick beaut of a car chase), but proves less sure-footed when the story drifts towards more conventional Bourne-style punch-ups. Thankfully, Neeson does a fine job keeping things grounded whenever the narrative starts to wander, with able support from Diane Kruger as a cab driver unwillingly along for the ride. There's the germ of a genuinely intriguing, thoughtful thriller inside Unknown--particularly during a superbly minimalist scene between supporting cast members Frank Langella and Bruno Ganz--but it mostly seems content to stay within the realm of a high-pedigreed, reasonably taut action film. Which isn't all that bad of a thing, really. --Andrew Wright
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.Read more ›
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.