Don’t Be Afraid of the ‘Unknown’

Up until recently I didn’t know anything about Unknown, but when I saw the movie’s trailer on television, a few weeks back, I instantly took notice.  Why?  Because… A) Liam Neeson stars in it… and B) Liam Neeson is shown in a bada$$ role much like he portrayed in Taken.  And so, with only one short viewing of the trailer I was like where do I sign up for this trip at.

Unknown is billed as an action thriller film and is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.  Oliver Butcher and Steve Cornwell, based on the novel Out of My Head by Didier van Cauwelaert, crafted the screenplay.  In addition to Neeson, the movie stars Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn and Skeletor himself, Frank Langella.

Unknown finds our hero, Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson), taking back his life after he awakens from a car accident in Berlin only to discover that his lovely wife (Jones) doesn’t recognize him and it gets even better.  Another man (Quinn) has assumed his identity.  Can you say hello, good morning?  How the hell would you like to wake up to all of this?  Wow!  And if that’s not enough, the authorities don’t believe him and he’s even being hunted by assassins.  Talk about a rude awakening!  Before long, Dr. Harris finds himself alone and on the run.  But wait!  There’s a girl!  Say it ain’t so?  The same taxi driver that nearly sent him careening to his death early on, Kruger’s character, may just be the lucky rabbit foot he needs to solve this pesky riddle.  But don’t take my word for it.  This one begs to be seen on the big screen.   And go forth and see you will.

However, what it really boils all down to is the lengths and extreme measures Martin will take to ultimately prove his identity and uncover the truth.  But at what expense?  As he goes deeper and deeper into the truth, will he start to even question his own sanity?  Sure he will.  Anyone would in his shoes.  So there you have it.  There’s conundrum and dynamics faced within Unknown.  Did it feel like a sequel to Taken?  Actually, not as much as I thought it would.  The real test for me was how were they going to pull this one off.  I mean, in the previews they show you his wife denying to know her husband, but how were they going to execute that in the film, was the question I was dying to get answered.  And honestly, I think they were effective in their resolution.  Once the ball started to roll and we got deeper and deeper into the psychosis of the character, I believe the screenwriters tapped into a very believable (as far as Hollywood movies go) Act 2 Plot Point.  And to be fair, I think fellow reviewer Jim Kulko said it best when he mentioned that he loved how the preview intrigued you enough to get you into the doors, but ultimately did not ruin the roller coaster surprise that was waiting for you.  I just had to give you props Jim.  That statement was not only simply put, but also very dead on.

What is it about these espionage/spy thriller films that take place overseas that appeal to me so much?  I have no idea.  But like my love for the Bourne films, The American and even Taken, Unknown just appeals to me on so many levels.  First, there’s the bada$$ characters that Neeson always seems to portray, strong, yet compassionate.  He always seems in touch with his humanity.  I like that!  Second, there’s the scenery.  There’s something about the authenticity of shooting live in a foreign country and the exotic locations that you or I don’t normally see or experience everyday.   And third, I usually eat up anything to do with lies, truths and cover-ups.  I always love me a good action thriller.  So in essence, I guess I was lying before in my second sentence of this paragraph.  I know EXACTLY why I liked this film.  LOL!

So with all this being said, I will do the inevitable.  I am going to go on record by stating that Unknown was the first theatrical release that I found enjoyment in so far this calendar year of 2011.  Any fan of Taken or the Bourne franchise should be out there this weekend showing their support for the genre.  In any case, it will definitely tie you over and help bridge the gap until Taken 2 comes out.  Well…that’s it for now folks.  Enjoy your weekend at the cinema!


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

3 Responses to “Don’t Be Afraid of the ‘Unknown’”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    There’ll be a little less praise in my review, but Gerard should note that Sebastion Koch from “The Lives of Others” and “Black Book” is in this film, and that made me happy.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    That’s good to hear, Aaron.

    I want to see this.

  3. Jiminy Critic

    Liked it. A lot. Liam Neeson rocks as an action movie guy. ’nuff said.