Plot: Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) is en route to a summit Berlin, where he will be one of the guests of honor and discuss his research. He and his wife Liz (January Jones) have traveled to attend the event, but are involved in a brutal car accident that leaves Martin in a coma. He wakes up after four days, only to discover that not only isn’t his wife at his side, but she nor anyone else has come to check in, as if no one knew he was hurt and hospitalized. Once he returns to his hotel, things only become stranger, as Liz claims to have no idea who he is and another man (Aidan Quinn) claims to be Dr. Martin Harris. The situation is surreal, but this other man has all the proof he needs to prove his identity, which leaves Martin confused and determined to reclaim his life. His first step is to find the cab driver that was behind the wheel at the time of the accident, but can Martin piece together what happened in the wake of the crash and if so, is he prepared for what he might uncover?
Entertainment Value: The market is flooded with twisty thrillers, but Unknown is able to stand out from the crowd thanks to not just one twist, but a constant flow of twists that never ease up. The basic narrative is interesting, if a little familiar, with a man who finds himself not himself, but then Unknown uncorks one wild twist after another, to the point that any semblance of common sense is thrown out the window, so logic gaps are massive here, to be kind. So if you need a coherent plot, you’re out of luck here, but I think the overdose of twists and total abandonment of common sense makes Unknown much better it should be. The pace is brisk and there are some fun action/chase style scenes, though this is much more of a thriller than an action movie, so don’t expect a Taken style ride from Unknown. But when the action does heat up, the movie benefits from the distraction, then throws in an extra twist or two to make sure the nonsense remains ramped up. I had fun with Unknown, but likely for unintended reasons and those in search of a serious thriller might be let down. So outside of Liam Neeson super fans, this one is tough to recommend.
This is yet another Liam Neeson thriller with some light action elements, but this leans much more toward the thriller side than action, which might not please the fans of Taken that arrive here. But Neeson remains a capable lead and he is a terrific actor, so he handles the needs of the material well enough. And given how little the script asks, it isn’t like he is challenged, but he is able to make some of the goofier moments seem a little more serious, which helps. Of course, even a bad ass like Neeson can only do so much and he can’t spin straw into gold, but he turns in a solid effort and his fans should appreciate this performance. Neeson has a good supporting cast backing him up as well, with Diane Kruger as a stand out. She does a lot to make her limited screen time matter, while her back and forth with Neeson are fun to watch. January Jones is also quite good here, in a cold, detached role that had some potential. The cast also includes Bruno Ganz, Aidan Quinn, and Frank Langella. This is a good cast, so it is a shame the script is weak and fails to make use of the talents involved.