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9/7/14

UNKNOWN - REVIEW


To keep Liam Neeson fans satisfied in-between Taken movies, Unknown was made and claimed to be in the same vein boasting action-packed trailers displaying another European setting and shady bad guys wearing leather jackets.

The film itself does sort of develop into something resembling a Taken movie but, for the most part, this is a different genre altogether. Unknown goes for more of a Hitchcockian mystery like, say, The Man Who Knew Too Much but with a modern edge, of course. Neeson plays a man who arrives in Berlin for an event but, on the way to recovering his briefcase from the airport, soon has a car accident. When he wakes up and leaves the hospital, he finds that no-one, not even his wife recognises him and that another man has taken over his identity. The whole film is spent following Neeson's character as he tries to figure out exactly what the hell is going on, who is messing with him or whether he's somehow lost his mind.

It's a fun intrigue to try and decipher and the film is well made enough to keep you guessing and wanting to guess throughout. Add to that some car chases, explosions and punch-outs here and there and you've got yourself one entertaining little movie which should please Taken fans and fans of that type of psychological thriller in general. There are quite a few twists and turns to keep up with and, although admittedly the initial twist is surprisingly clever, altogether these many reveals don't add up to something that makes a whole lot of sense. And even if you're perfectly happy to not overthink the film and accept the dubious logic it chooses (I know I did!), in retrospect, a lot of Unknown is pretty silly.

I won't spoil it for you but suffice it to say that Neeson's not very good at his job in this movie, much like he wasn't in this year's Non-Stop.

The cast also includes January Jones, who once again barely emotes during the entirety of the film, Diane Kruger, who is probably too good to be in this and Bruno Ganz, who was once Hitler in that Downfall movie so good luck trying to resist the urge to picture funny subtitles during his scenes. Frank Langella also appears about halfway through but he doesn't stick around for too long. It's an altogether solid cast and, like I said, the film's well made and is rather fun but it's definitely one of those movies which goes for a serious tone but, if you think about its plot for two seconds, still manages to come off as amusingly ludicrous.

All in all, Unknown's harmless enough and offers an entertaining, head-scratching, at times suspenseful way to spend an hour and a half. It's a bit ridiculous but hey, isn't that really why we like these new Liam Neeson movies? Be honest.

Oh, and it should have been titled "MisTaken".

Goes without saying.

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