Movie review by EDF
Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Frank Langella
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
UNKNOWN is one of those movies that seem to be truly spoiled by the trailer. If you think you have an idea where this thriller is going, think again. This is one of the better action thrillers that has come out for some time, starring Liam Neeson who is turning into an unlikely action hero. If you are expecting a TAKEN like movie which itself at times was just plain silly, you will be pleasantly surprised. Here we have a solid script taken from Didier Van Cauwelaert’s novel Out Of My Head and solid direction and performances to match.
Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) is a botanist who has travelled to Berlin with his wife for a biotechnology summit. When they arrive at the hotel and their bags are being unloaded from the taxi, Liam realises that his briefcase has been left behind at the airport. Martin’s wife Elizabeth Harris (January Jones) books in to the hotel and before she knows what’s going on, sees Martin getting into another taxi. Along the way, the taxi is involved in a traffic accident and Martin is knocked unconscious. Martin wakes up from a coma four days later to find that he has partial memory. It’s only when he sees a news item about the summit that he remembers which hotel his wife is staying in.
Martin arrives at the hotel to find his wife with another man, who says that he is Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn). As Martin (Liam Neeson) is lead away by security he asks them to check their hotel security footage of the front desk to prove that he originally checked in with his wife. When the footage is found, they only see Elizabeth checking in by herself. Martin admits that he is still feeling groggy from his accident and that he will return to the hospital, so the hotel security allows him to leave. Left wandering the streets, trying to piece his fragmented memories, Martin is getting the feeling that someone is watching his every move. What he must do is find the taxi driver who mysteriously fled the scene of the accident and find out why his wife is denying that she knows him.
Even though this is a Hollywood budgeted movie, this feels like a European production thanks to Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra. He makes good use of the Berlin locations throughout the movie and manages to make the quieter parts as interesting as the action sequences. While the movie does not drag, there are some plot holes here which you can almost forgive as this is an entertaining romp. With solid performances from Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger as Gina the taxi driver and Bruno Ganz as a private detective who turns out to be the most sympathetic character here, this is a very engaging thriller.