Action / Mystery / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 56%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 55%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 221388


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Downloaded 201,720 times
January 26, 2012 at 10:49 PM


Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris
January Jones as Elizabeth Harris
Diane Kruger as Gina
Aidan Quinn as Martin B
699.03 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 53 min
P/S 7 / 76

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by classicalsteve 7 / 10

Finely Constructed Thriller Which Keeps You Guessing All the Way: Sort of Robert Ludlum Meets To Tell the Truth

I guess if you really want to put an American in a harsh situation, have him lose his memory in a foreign country. For Americans that's probably the closest thing to Hell on Earth, right up there with being denied Monday Night Football in Hi-Def. (Just kidding) A few films have similar premises of an American being a fish out of his own waters: "the Bourne Identity", "Frantic", and "Seven Days Seven Nights". Hollywood is also replete with stories about people either losing their memories or simply being "lost" inside a political situation because of forces beyond their control, such as "the Changeling", Hitchcock's "Spellbound", "the Truman Show"; even "Total Recall" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" have similarities.

The one element that saves these movies is the premise of the main character being in essentially a "no win situation". Despite how contrived or "unrealistic" the whole plot is, if the character is interesting enough, and the situation compelling enough, then you tend to run with it. Part of the fun is learning the greater story along with the character. It may have become a rather over-used plot devise, but it tends to work, in part because pieces of the puzzle can be thrown at the character without him understanding what it means.

"Unknown" falls into this category of a character being trapped in a situation he does not completely understand, and the story is told almost entirely from the his point of view. After a near-death experience in Berlin, an American wakes up in a hospital room and his only knowledge is that he is Dr Martin Harris and he was there for a Biotech conference. But he has lost his identification along the way, and no one seems to believe him. He even returns to the hotel where he was supposed to be staying and finds his wife. Except his wife not only denies him but appears to be married to a man also by the name of Dr Martin Harris. Will the real Martin Harris please stand up? Starts to ring of a suspense version of the old television show "To Tell the Truth" where three people would claim they were the same person, and panelists would try to figure out who was the "real" person.

I don't see "and the nominees for Best Actor are Liam Neeson for Uknown" in the near future, but at the same time it really is Neeson who makes the entire film work. His honesty as an actor delivers a performance right on the money that kept me on the edge of my seat most of the way, to the point where I really wanted to know how he would get out of this. I never quite fell out of my chair, the way I did when I saw the original "the Bourne Identity" with Richard Chamberlain, but "Unknown" is first-rate entertainment of the escapist variety.

The two leading ladies also keep the entertainment level high, particularly January Jones (of Mad Men fame) who plays against type, as the loyal wife turned traitor. And Diane Kruger as a Bosnian refugee who is working in Berlin to eventually get her immigration papers reluctantly befriends Neeson and becomes an integral part of the plot. Roger Ebert in his review points out that a lot of things are too coincidental. Yeah...it's a suspense/action movie. So what else is new? If there's anything I can say about "Unknown" is you'll never find yourself looking at your watch, which is pretty high praise these days.

Reviewed by socrates99 9 / 10

Not a bad action/drama - a good time at the movies

It's one thing to be told not to think too hard about what you're about to see, it's another to be helped enormously in that task by a skilled director employing equally skilled actors. All the principals here are in top notch form and, though I enjoy trying to measure how much license was taken by a screenplay, this film never once made me feel cheated or resentful.

Is it a brilliant film? Probably not, but it's devilishly entertaining. The action scenes here are matched by the quiet drama scenes and that's unusual. I don't really think either sex can really claim it entirely.

The director's done a very good job of creating the right mood and telling the story in such a way that the actors can do their work, unimpeded by unrealistic run ups to their scenes. This movie made me feel as if I've just visited Berlin much more effectively than any other European based movie I can think of and that alone is worth the price of admission.

Reviewed by simona gianotti 7 / 10

Involving and well interpreted action-thriller

The movie sounds intriguing since from the beginning and keeps its sense of mystery and intrigue till the end: this is a good quality, once reminding Hitchcock's thrillers, with the difference that in "Unknown" the thrilling aspect cannot be separated from the frenzy typical of action movies. The result is an entertaining, involving pic, never losing its strong and quick rhythm and letting the viewer staying attached to the screen till the end. Set in a depressing Berlin covered by snow, always marked by the sad signs of a more or less distant past, a good photography gets to capture the overall gloomy atmosphere of the story and the mystery of a character whose vicissitudes seem as much incomprehensible as much needing some resolution, and an effective final twist as well. Liam Neeson plays skillfully, although not always sufficiently expressive, he gets to convey the sense of void of someone looking for some identity. A stand-out performance is offered by Bruno Ganz and also Diane Kruger supports Neeson quite well. Certainly not a masterpiece, but worth the ticket.

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