Wednesday, 9 March 2011



Or indeed, have I seen this already? Fittingly for a film about a bloke who's lost his memory, it's clearly hoping you've forgotten a whole bunch of other films. For example, it's hoping you've forgotten Shattered, in which Tom Berenger survives a car accident and gradually pieces together the mystery with the help of a private detective. Or what about Frantic, in which Harrison Ford checks into a luxury hotel in a major European capital and gets involved in a ridiculous conspiracy aided by an attractive woman? Or even Taken, where Liam Neeson travels to a major European city and chaos, violence, chases and killings quickly follow.

In Unknown, Liam Neeson come out of a coma in a Berlin hospital, four days after a car accident. He knows his name and why he's in Berlin - but why isn't his wife (January Jones) looking for him? Indeed, who's this other Dr Harris she's in their hotel room with? Actually it's Aidan Quinn, but if he's Dr Harris, then who's Neeson? What are the mysterious numbers written in the back of his notebook? And what's with the homicidal Gok Wan lookalike who tries to abduct him from the hospital? And when's Frank Langella going to show up? Neeson's only willing accomplice in finding the truth is a private detective, former Stasi officer Bruno Ganz, and his reluctant accomplice is Bosnian refugee and taxi driver Diane Kruger.

It's a strong and personable cast, it rattles along, it's admittedly pretty silly but it's got some decent action sequences and car chases, includes enough violence for its 12A certificate, and the movie does play fair in teasing out the mystery, even if it does come down to the traditional James Bond ending of things blowing up while the hero and villain going mano-a-mano. I really enjoyed Unknown: a fairly implausible popcorn action flick it might be, but it's exciting and well handled and has some neat twists along the way (unless you've watched the trailers, which I haven't but I suspect give the whole thing away). Hokum, but better than it had any right to be.


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