Thursday, 24 February 2011

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Unknown [Review]


Opinion: C+

What would have otherwise been yet another brilliant kickass Liam Neeson film turns out to pack quite a soft punch, in almost every department less Neeson's great performance as expected. The other watchable element of this film is found in the beautiful Diane Kruger, whose good looks seem bizarre for a random taxi driver nevertheless.


Liam Neeson stars as Dr. Martin Harris, who awakens after a car accident in Berlin to discover that his wife (January Jones) suddenly doesnt recognize him and another man (Aidan Quinn) has assumed his identity. Ignored by disbelieving authorities and hunted by mysterious assassins, he finds himself alone, tired, and on the run. Aided by an unlikely ally (Diane Kruger), Martin plunges headlong into a deadly mystery that will force him to question his sanity, his identity, and just how far hes willing to go to uncover the truth.

When a film tries to pile up as many carpets as possible on the flooring of the theatre before you step in as an audience, you'd know that they are probably trying very hard to cover up things and hopefully get away with you believing everything was insanely incredible.

Incredible is the word when we are speaking of a barely plausible plot.

Unknown opens with Neeson and Jones arriving in Berlin for a biotechnology summit. Soon enough, you will see some coma-inducing accident coming towards Neeson before he wakes up either finding himself embraced by perils or memory loss.

You'll have to find out for yourself to avoid spoilers.

Working on a similar formula as per Neeson's previous hit "Taken", he spends most of the film pursuing his actual identity as everything takes place as how the screenwriters wanted it to be - of convenience. That said, almost none of the supporting characters around Neeson feels close to us. Jones feels like a stranger more than a wife, possibly thanks to her linear dimensional acting.

In a story where it tries to instill in the audience that "nothing is by chance", the few elements of coincidence are simply too hard to believe in. The beautiful Diane Kruger as a random cab driver who happens to pick Neeson up? I've never gotten that lucky thus far in my life, the odds are probably lower than striking a lottery.

It's just bizarre, like how the rest of the film unfolds itself.

Spanish Director Jaume Collet-Serra tries to floor his audience in two manners. Messy rapid edits of car chase scenes that might satisfy the general audience, followed by the carpet-pulling (mentioned earlier) off from under the audience's feet. While the carpet-pulling act of inducing plot twists is intended as a dramatic plot tool, I personally thought that was also my last straw of tolerance.

You see, I wasn't in the mood for popcorn fares, which Unknown might be well capable of to cater for the wider audience group. I was all ready even before the first frame of this film to see Neeson kick some protagonists' butts. But sad to say, he's got his kicked all film long.

In my eyes, Unknown is a film better left unknown.

4 comments:

  1. Good honest review.

    And your exactly right. Other than Neeson's customary solid performance, this movie is fatally lacking in all other areas of substance.

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  2. @Matty Yeah I think I kinda went in with high expectations, perhaps that's why I'm feeling more outraged than others with its lacking. But your comments have confirmed my thoughts, so it's really nice to hear from you! :)

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  3. Its a shame, I had high expectations for this one J, another Taken maybe....alas doesnt seem to be the case, will still watch though. Thanks for the review.

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  4. @Dempsey Likewise for me, I was really looking forward to this. Yes you should watch it, Neeson is still good in it. Shall hear it from you when you do for your opinion. You might like it, it's hard to say.

    I should thank you for reading instead ;)

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