Movie Review
Unknown poster
By Craig Younkin     Published February 20, 2011
US Release: February 18, 2011

Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson , January Jones , Diane Kruger , Aidan Quinn

PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sexual content.
Running Time: 113 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $62,723,000
This is Neesonís movie. The big, gruff action hero knocks it out of the park.
Liam Neesonís life gets "taken" and he has to fight to get it back in "Unknown," the starís best attempt so far at banking on his action hero personae. Sure "Unknown" is like a smorgasbord of other thrillers (the "Bourne" series and "Frantic" chief among them) rolled up into one but it does so many things right that I barely even noticed the resemblance until the lights in the theater came up.

Neeson plays Dr. Martin Harris, who while in Berlin for a bio-technology summit suffers memory loss after his taxi gets into a car accident. Only nothing can explain what happens next. His wife (January Jones) has no idea who he is and he has been replaced with another Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn). As the plot gets deeper we learn that this is either an elaborate conspiracy or Martinís memory loss is worse than he thought, either way he even begins to doubt himself after a certain point. His only help comes from a private detective (Bruno Ganz) and the cabbie (Diane Kruger) of his ill-fated taxi. The questions pile up (who are these people? How is Martin number 2 able to recite verbatim whole conversations that Martin has had with a speaker at the conference?), as do the plot twists and subtle clues.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra dials up the paranoia and suspense while the action, which includes some fights, explosions and a terrific car chase, thrills. Of course the way this all ends is very important and while itís familiar, the ending still makes sense enough not to botch what came before it. And this is Neesonís movie. The big, gruff action hero knocks it out of the park. Ganz also proves a definite scene stealer and Kruger and Frank Langella, playing Martinís shady boss, offer fine support. "Unknown" is nothing ground-breaking but it's skillful, effective, and thrilling and at this point in the year, who could ask for anything more?
Craig's Grade: B+
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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