Paging Dr. Harris . . .
Swift shot: Another Liam Neeson action flick . . . but with a surreal, cerebral edge. If you are paying strict attention, you may figure out the twist, plus it helps if you have a warped imagination. Shot, on location, in Berlin, “Unknown” is a plausible thriller which is engaging to watch and solve. Strong German casting complements Neeson well. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan), “Unknown” has a fast pulse and delivers action and intrigue.
Neeson plays a scientist (Dr. Martin Harris) who is going to speak at an International Bio-Tech summit in Berlin, but in a rush, he leaves behind his briefcase with all his research and needs to leave the hotel and get back to the airport where he left it. January Jones plays his wife, Elizabeth, who is experiencing some drama checking into the hotel, so she hardly notices him leaving. While in the cab heading back to the airport, he crashes and wakes up in a hospital telling people he is Dr. Harris, but there is a guy who apparently already has his identity, played by Aidan Quinn, and Quinn and Elizabeth think Neeson is some shitballs, insane nut trying to convince others he is the good doctor. Will the real Dr. Martin Harris please stand up?
Paranoia creeps up on him, as he is being hunted, and the only person he can turn to is his ill-fated cab driver, Gina (Diane Kruger) who is a bit reluctant to come out and play cabbie, now that hers is in the bottom of a lake; her boss is not pleased with her performance. Bruno Ganz does a fabulous job as the proud former Stasi (East German Police) officer, Ernst, you all know him from the “Hitler Reacts videos” which was ripped from his work in “Downfall”. Neeson hires Ernst to suss out his identity and to confirm the other Dr. is bending reality, or is Neeson the one who doesn’t quite have a firm grip on reality? That is the unknown element of “Unknown”.
This film is great to rent and watch alone, without the peanut gallery (hey, we all have them) constantly blurting out-loud what they think is really going on or about to happen next. In my crew, that role usually falls on me, so, when it comes to a thinking film, I prefer to view them solo. Also, if I am wrong, no one can point and laugh.
If you liked “Taken”, you’ll like this one, but it isn’t (most-likely) what you are expecting. Still, it was solid entertainment and with January Jones and Diane Kruger, it’s got some choice eye-candy in case you missed trick or treating this year.