Unknown is a film which deals with the issue of identity, or lack of identity to be correct. Dr. Martin Harris(Liam Neeson) awakes from a coma after an accident to find that all is not what it seems to be. Firstly, he finds that his identity has been stolen along with his wife. And to make matters worse he is being pursued by a gang of mysterious assassins who are trying to impede Neeson on his quest for the “truth”. But he quickly teams up with the taxi driver(Dianne Kruger) who drove him off a bridge which caused his amnesia and an over stereotypical ex Stasi officer (Bruno Ganz). The motley crew then join forces to battle evil, I mean take down the conspiracy which they now find themselves entangled in.
On first glance Unknown seems to be nothing more than the sequel to Taken, a film where Liam Neeson trekked around Paris trying to uncover some major plot. Substitute Berlin for Paris and this might be right. Both films are dull impact less Euro-Thrillers where the only interesting aspect is the architecture of the surrounding cityscape’s. It also must be said that Liam Neeson plays identical roles in both films. This role being the stiff, emotionless action hero with a dodgy accent. Don’t get me wrong, he played a great role in “Five Minutes of Heaven” where he played a reformed UVF soldier trying to makes amends with the brother of nationalist he killed as a young man. This just goes to show that Neeson has a niche which he should stick to. And this niche most certainly includes Irish characters as he is unable to disguise his rough Irish accent.
What Unknown has going for it is a series of interesting shots and camera angles which offer the audience a unique viewpoint and insight into the perspective of the central character. But this, in my opinion, is the only positive aspect of this film. Unknown is a by the book Hollywood action film with explosions, gun fights and not one but two over the top car chases which are long winded and dragged out. There is even a cheesy line or two from the characters such as; “I still remember how to kill you asshole”.
To sum it up, the film is a series of twists and turns each one less interesting than the last. This film lacks direction overall to the extinct where the concluding big twist is impact less. This combined with the monotonous character played by Liam Neeson results in a bland and uninspiring film. But then again what else would you expect from the director who brought us “great” films such as “Goal 2” and the remake of “House of Wax”. What I have to say is that I have studied film narrative in college. I watched this film with 3 friends who have not. They thoroughly enjoyed this film. Which leads me to the conclusion that Unknown is a Hollywood blockbuster, and nothing more. A film made to entertain mass audiences and generate profit. So if you are looking for a piece of cheap entertainment i would recommend this film. Otherwise, I would not.