Sunday, February 27, 2011

Movie review: "Unknown"

"Unknown" is fresh movie, started playing just last weekend. I just checked and it is at the first place on USA Weekend Box-Office Summary (according to IMDB). I must say I am a bit surprised, because I didn't hear about the movie before watching it, nor did it impress me SO much.

"Unknown" is a action-thriller starring Liam Neeson in the main role. I like him, although I can't say I watched many of his films. But I like every actor that had role in "Love, Actually". And of course, I remember him for "Star Wars" as Qui-Gon. Checking his list of movies now; it is quite long... Rest of the cast doesn't number any big stars, but they do their work quite solid.

Anyway, little about the plot. Movie starts with Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) arriving to Berlin with his wife Elizabeth (January Jones). They look like normal couple, arriving there for him to attend a science conference. After some confusion at the hotel reception, he goes back to airport to retrieve a lost briefcase. But, on the way there he has a sudden car-accident, even ending dead for few minutes. After waking at hospital, he goes back to hotel only to find his wife there with another man. And that other man is claiming to be Dr. Martin Harris and his wife supporting this claim. Original Martin ends on the streets of Berlin, terribly confused and alone. He will meet Gina, driver of a cab he had accident in, and Ernst Jünger, former member of secret police, now a private investigator, who will help him try regaining his past.

As I said, "Unknown" is a thriller, with spies, secrets, action scenes and assassins. But best part lies in suspense and guessing what really happened. Plot is really clever and around the middle of the movie, it looks impossible that screenwriters were able to devise a believable ending. Which they fortunately did. It is not very probable that viewers will guess "it" much before the actual revelation. There are several implications scattered throughout the movie (mostly trough flashbacks), but it's hard to connect them while watching movie first time.

There is only one thing that spoiled the movie for me, although I think that most of the audience will not be bothered with it as much as me. I don't consider myself a car-expert, but even to me the big car chase around the middle of the movie looked overly unrealistic. First, I don't think that there is a normal car that can go reverse fast as any other car forward. Secondly, it is impossible to go so straight driving that fast. And thirdly, what is the possibility of middle-aged American scientist having stunt-driver's capabilities, especially with a car with manual transmission. But, as I said, I didn't notice any cries of outrage in the cinema, so I believe I present a minority with this opinion.

Rest of the movie is great. There are few nice action scenes, which Neeson works out great. I especially liked the ending; it was very intense. Although final conclusion looked a bit soapy, but it can be forgiven.

In conclusion, "Unknown" is a great action-thriller movie for all kinds of audiences. I don't see it as award-material, but nevertheless it is a movie to recommend to everybody.

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