“Unknown” Movie Review


     The ever dependable Liam Neeson stars in the surprisingly effective "Unknown", a mystery thriller which is full of twists and turns you likely won't see coming.  The supporting cast includes Diane Kruger as well as Frank Langela and the other supporting players are game as Neeson navigates through a web of lies and deceit in an attempt to answer one question: Am I Dr. Martin Harris?

     The setting in this film is Berlin and Dr. Harris (Neeson) and his wife have arrived for a biotech conference sponsored by an Arab Prince.  Dr. Harris is a stateside expert and has been asked to speak at the conference.  After arriving at their hotel, Dr. Harris realizes he has left his briefcase at the airport and gets in a cab to go back and retrieve it.  On the way, the cab gets in a severe traffic accident that leaves him in a coma for four days.  When he awakens in the hospital, he doesn't remember much, but later is able to make his way back to his hotel.  Problem is, he finds out his identity has been stolen by a man posing as him and his wife is acting as though she has never met him.  Of course the police think he is crazy, but he avoids arrest by admitting the car accident has clouded his memory.  This sets the film's plot in motion with Dr. Harris trying to sort out what has happened.

     To go any further is impossible without giving away key details.  What I really liked about this film is it keeps you guessing until the end and nothing is as it seems.  If you've seen the trailer for the film, you've seen nothing and that's the way it should be. Unknown is not a great film, but it is a quality one with a smart script, solid acting, and smooth direction.  Certainly an above average offering for this time of year.

     You may remember Diane Kruger from 2009's "Inglorious Basterds" as the actress / super spy hired to help infiltrate the Nazi regime.  This is definitely the type of film she will continue to excel at.  As the cab driver who helps Neeson sort out the mess he is in, she is excellent and I can see her continuing in these types of roles as she gains popularity in the United States.

     Many may compare Unknown to Neeson's previous work in the film "Taken" and that isn't really a stretch.  Even the film's marketing is plastered with the word "taken" which is not an accident I'm sure.  Yes, Neeson again brings a "special set of skills" to the table and the results make for yet another successful turn as an action star for the veteran actor.  When I think back to "Schindler's List" and follow Neeson to the present, it seems he has quietly become one of the most bankable stars of his time and is well on his way to being in the conversation when we speak of this generation's finest actors.

GRADE: B