Monday, 7 March 2011

Unknown (2011)

Who’s been sleeping in my bed?

Image: Optimum Releasing

Liam Neeson is all over the place these days. From voicing the feeble Aslan of Narnia, to reincarnating Hannibal in The A Team as well as Zeus in Clash of the Titans, he seems to be on a mission to prove he’s got more than one trick in his pony. He’s certainly leading man material, but his latest role isn’t going to aid him tremendously on his quest. Although, it won’t slow him down either.

Neeson plays Dr. Martin Harris, a man who wakes up after a car accident to discover that his wife (Mad Men’s very own Betty Draper) doesn’t recognise him, and another man has assumed his identity. Without his passport or any way of proving who he is, the doctor must work fast to unravel the mystery – with the help of a certain Kruger.

From the moment Harris and his wife jump into a taxi at a Berlin airport, at which the taxi driver appears to forget to put Harris’s briefcase in the boot, you’re aware that this is not going to be the most challenging ride, and that we’re venturing into the rather “well-known” - a massive close-up of the forgotten case clearly signifies that 1, the driver’s a bit of a plonker 2, Harris is a bit of a plonker for not carrying the most important piece of luggage in his hand and 3, drama is a coming. And so it does. On Harris’s way back to the airport to retrieve the case, his taxi ends up at the bottom of the sea and he – thanks to some handy work from taxi driver Diana Kruger, whose behaviour suggests that this is not the first time she’s found herself in deep water – winds up with amnesia in a dodgy German hospital (the doctors clearly don’t want him to remember). This forces Neeson into the night of day to find Ms. Kruger so that the pair can fight fire with a frazzled memory.

The plot is reasonable enough; however the script veers off-track occasionally and we’re left with quite a few implausible scenarios, for example, if you’re planning to kill someone, do you really plant a bomb in their hotel room 3 months before d-day? It’s unlikely, but these silly set-ups actually make the movie quite enjoyable, oddly enough. 

Unknown may fancy itself the serious action thriller, but some unintentionally funny moments amidst all the action, as well as some blatant, foreseeable manoeuvres from the director stop it from being such a thriller. But while the film doesn’t give its audience much credit, the drama is well-paced and the movie does have enough substance to keep you in your seat until the end. It won’t be winning any awards any time soon, but if you’re looking for a popcorn movie to keep you amused for a couple of hours, Unknown isn’t all that bad.

Verdict: Silly and implausible in places, but a watchable film nonetheless.



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