Unknown 2011 Movie Scene Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris trying to prove his identity to hotel security

Unknown [2011]

I have a big problem with one word movie titles. They have to be absolutely perfect in order to work. Otherwise, you end up with a forgettable title that’s going to drag the entire movie into obscurity. For example Cube and Exam are awesome titles for even better movies. Even Liam Neeson’s last big hit Taken is an appropriate match. To make things even worse, the working title for this movie was Unknown White Male. Well, after this slight detour let’s see what we have here. Unknown is a psychological thriller following a man who finds himself in a surreal situation of stolen identity. 

And that’s just the beginning of his troubles. The story is taking place in Europe, Germany to be more precise and I found that to be quite refreshing. Even when nothing is going on, you can look at the beautiful architecture and the pulse of the city. On that note, this is a big movie with a hefty $40 million budget. This means the production values are excellent and everything has that sleek look. I loved the explosions that were phenomenally good. Oh yes, there will be explosions and quite a lot of action in this movie.

After all, Liam Neeson, the new action star is the lead. Unknown is a movie based on Didier Van Cauwelaert’s book Out of My Head. This is why will get that well-thought-out plot and interesting characters on top of all the exciting stuff. And the movie will keep you guessing what’s really going on right up until the end. Liam gave another good performance, unlike January Jones. I don’t understand how she can be so good in Mad Men and so bad here. Luckily, the spotlight is squarely aimed at our poor protagonist so she got away with one here.

Dr. Martin Harris is a scientist who just landed in Berlin with his beautiful wife for a biotechnology conference. After a picturesque drive through this stunning city, they get out of the cab in front of their hotel only to realize Martin’s briefcase is missing. He quickly gets into a cab and heads for the airport only to end up in a car accident. After four days, Martin finally wakes up in a hospital and starts to suspect that something might be horribly wrong.

As you can notice we have a bit of Roman Polanski’s Frantic going on here complete with a hot girl helping our protagonist. Although I have to admit Unknown features a lot more mystery and action. With a dash of Jason Bourne to make things a bit more spicier. It would appear that the young Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra has a bright future in front of him. House of Wax remake was a visually impressive albeit flawed horror movie while Orphan was delightfully nasty. So, I can’t wait to see his next movie. 

Unknown is not a good movie, it’s a great movie. Driven by the gripping plot full of mystery and twists, it’s going to completely capture your attention. After the first fifteen minutes, you really start to feel for our main guy. You immerse yourself in the story and just disappear in it. A perfect movie experience. I also loved the cinematography which was just perfect, accentuating the vibrant city of Berlin.

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writers: Oliver Butcher, Stephen Cornwell, Didier Van Cauwelaert

Cast: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, Frank Langella

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IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1401152/

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