Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The stars: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn, January Jones, Bruno Ganz
The story: In Berlin, an American researcher (Liam Neeson) awakens from a coma after an accident, only to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one, not even his wife, believes him. With the help of a young woman, he sets out to prove who he is.
The buzz: Oscar nominee Neeson, who was superb in the sleeper action hit Taken, is at the centre of this thriller. Backing him up is the scrumptious January Jones from Mad Men, Bruno Ganz from Downfall and Diane Kruger from Inglorious Basterds.
Unlike Taken, which was a straightforward take-no-prisoners action film, Unknown is a more complicated thriller that starts off in Hitchcock territory before taking some surprising turns. There’s not that much action during the initial thirty minutes, but action fans should be satisfied as the film rolls towards an explosive finish.
Neeson is once again brilliant in the lead, and the aged and weary-looking actor brings both fire and conviction to the role that would leave Daniel Craig in the dust.
Neeson is also joined by a great supporting cast, including Bruno Ganz, who plays a former Stasi agent that helps him find out what’s going on. Kruger, as the taxi driver who gets pulled in, outshines the fairly flat January Jones.
Story wise, there’s some plot wrangling that’s a little hard to swallow, but Neeson and director Collet-Serra sell it so well those contrivances are forgiven. There is a big twist, but it occurs at the 2/3 mark and doesn’t just leave an audience in the lurch (unlike a typical M. Night Shyamalan flick).
Solidly made, without going over the same familiar turf as Taken, Unknown is an entertaining ride that keeps you on your feet and guessing till the very end.