UNKNOWN (Jaume Collet-Serra)


Liam Neeson is scary when he gets mad. He has that brooding physique, and his husky voice will threaten everyone in proximity. In UNKNOWN, he screams at hotel security who are just doing their job, which is proof enough Neeson is one of those guys you don't want to get angry in real life (in line with Mel Gibson, Colin Farrell, and Sean Penn). 

At times the movie feels like it tries hard to be BOURNE, what with all the memory loss and the assassins. The character of Neeson here looks like his character in TAKEN, a similarly-themed thriller set in a European country, and there are instances where the events can only have been incepted in Hollywood.

Countless times does the film ignore logic. The big revelation towards the climax is a big "What!?", yet the pacing and exposition afterwards and Neeson's authenticity as a hero character saves the film from mediocrity.

An American biochemist, Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) and his wife, Liz (January Jones) visit Berlin to attend a biochemistry conference. After an unfateful road accident, Dr. Harris wakes up to find his wife not knowing who he is, and somebody claiming to be him.

He then goes to search for clues and seeks to recover his identity and his life. With the help of the taxicab driver (Diane Kruger) and a retired spy (Bruno Ganz), Harris ultimately faces with the shocking truth about who he is and what his purpose in Berlin.

Kruger is the good samaritan in this movie, a character who may be rare in present society, but add a backstory of her being an illegal immigrant and you fill the gaping hole of logic.

Ganz is compelling as a retired spy. I still see him as the ferocious Adolf Hitler (from DOWNFALL) and him and Frank Langella alone in a single room just ignites sparks. Two veteran actors wielding their wisdom against each other is one of this film's highlights.

A lot more can be improved in the script, but UNKNOWN is passable as a solid thriller that knows how to build momentum.

RATING: 3/5

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