Thursday, 2 June 2011

REVIEW: Unknown

Liam Neeson gets back in action as he channels his Taken character and turns into another man-on-a-mission, Bourne-type identity search.

Identity theft is a massive problem, but when instead of some nob using your credit card in another country, they take over your life so completely that even your wife denies that you're you and then you run into ... you. It's a whole other level of fraud.

The film begins with January Jones and Liam Neeson (a bit of an age difference maybe) getting off a plane and then he forgets his briefcase. Oh dear. He ventures back to get it but gets in an accident and then finds that he's been replaced by some weirdo. The problem is that I pretty much figured it out immediately, and it ruined the whole experience of the film but never mind. What happens is Liam Neeson tries to prove that he is really who he is while people are trying to kill him along the way, he shacks up with Diane Kruger and then it gets a bit revenge-ish as the pieces fall into place.

Simple enough plot and it kept me entertained throughout, with some good chase scenes that didn't get too ridiculous but remained believable in the context of the plot. Berlin also gets a good portrayal as they go from landmarks to clubs to hotels and all over, but the problem is I've seen it before. The other problem is that the whole time it's almost laughable how Neeson just looks like a crazy idiot spouting nonsense and there are a few plotholes along the way. However, there are some highlights, for instance the Stasi guy played by Hitler from Downfall makes a very understated performance as a man obsessed with details and somewhat trying to repent for past sins of himself and perhaps Germany. His scene with Frank Langella, a too brief appearance, is probably it's strongest, a slow yet knowingly respectful old school way of thinking in a film I'd never thought I'd see these two acting heavyweights in.

The directing is subtle but it works, it's a throwaway movie that will keep people entertained. The passiveness of Jones is something that grates in that, much like Betty in Mad Men, she looks emotionally dead inside, perhaps why she has been chosen and I'm not sure if she's a good actress or not. I'll leave this up for debate. Neeson gives it all like he always does, no matter how terrible the film and I hope that he still does more action films as I have to say he's one of my favourite actors.

Overall, there's nothing here you wouldn't have seen elsewhere before and, even if you do figure it out sooner rather than later, it's still quite an enjoyable ride albeit a stupid one.

Rating: 6/10

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