Thursday, February 24, 2011

Unknown (2011)


Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, others.
Release Date: February 17, 2011 (UAE)

Unknown, a thriller set in Germany, starts with an interesting premise but quickly spirals downwards to B-movie shoddiness. Predictable and far-fetched, it also makes convenient use of force majeure to set up and resolve situations that the writers were not creative enough to tackle. Liam Neeson though commands a formidable screen presence and is one of the main reasons the movie does not completely fail.

In Berlin to attend a biotechnology summit, Dr Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) is thrust into a coma after a car accident. When he wakes up after four days, he realizes that his identity has been taken over by another man with even his wife (January Jones) failing to recognize him. With help from a taxi driver who saved his life (Diane Kruger), Harris sets out to reclaim his identity.

Jaume Collet-Serra, director of such dismal outings as Goal 2 and Orphan, does not give the audience much to cheer about in Unknown. While the initial setup of the film is intriguing, the movie soon takes liberties with logic. Details are left unexplained and the plot takes meaningless turns. It would take a particular skill to extract even a good B-movie out of the plot and characters, but this too is sadly missing in Collet-Serra’s execution. Though studios generally like to compensate the lack of intelligent content with action in such films, not only is the action in Unknown half-baked it is also relatively sparse. All of this only begs to question the judgment of Neeson in choosing to be a part of this film.

Neeson does his best to add interest to an otherwise predictable proceeding. He gives his character enough depth, to make his doubt and need for clarity worth caring for. He is ably supported by an entertaining Bruno Ganz (famous for playing Adolf Hitler in 2004’s Downfall) and the pretty Diane Kruger. January Jones on the other hand is so bland she seems to have been borrowed from one of Collet-Serra’s previous films, House of Wax. Frank Langella makes a late entry in the film that only further emphasizes the plots predictability. Interestingly, the film was re-titled to Unknown, after initially being called Unknown White Male. It might as well have settled for the title Confused, which would have been more apt.

My Rating --> 2 of 5

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