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Unknown movie poster

Unknown: Movie Review

Genre: Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Frank Langella, Bruno Ganz
Released by: Warner Bros. Pictures

In Short: What happens when a man gets into a terrible accident and forgets his past, then remembers and finds that no one, including his wife, believes that he exists? That's the far-fetched premise of "Unknown," and it doesn't keep us guessing for long enough to enjoy this silly thriller.

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WAKING UP IN A NIGHTMARE

A Forgotten Life

It's difficult to talk about "Unknown," the new thriller starring Liam Neeson, January Jones and Diane Kruger, without giving away key plot points. What is seemingly the tale of a renowned American scientist, Dr. Martin Harris, who arrives in Berlin with his wife for a conference, suddenly shifts into something sinister. In fact, when Harris gets separated from his wife, loses all his identification and has a coma-inducing accident, the story becomes a riddle — one we spend the next 90 minutes watching the hero try to unravel.

When Harris begins to remember his past and goes looking for his wife (January Jones) at their hotel, she has replaced him with a different man, and both claim that the imposter is the real Dr. Martin Harris. Thus our hero must discover why his wife has forsaken him, and who the other man really is.

January Jones in Unknown Diane Kruger and Liam Neeson in Unknown

But here's the basic problem with "Unknown:" it just isn't that hard to figure out. What is tougher to grasp is why two gorgeous young women (Jones and Kruger) would both fall for a guy 25 years their senior; every time Neeson is on screen with either one, the age difference is so obvious as to be distracting — and, frankly, unbelievable. Throw in the hand-to-hand fighting that ensues between the 58-year-old actor and some of the strong young baddies that are out to get him, and "Unknown" becomes downright laughable. Neeson is simply getting too old for this stuff, even if they do try to sell him as being a fortyish guy in the story. We're not buying that, not for a second.

Perhaps the worst part of the film, however, cannot be revealed without spoiling the movie-going experience for fans of the normally talented actor. Suffice it to say that when Harris, along with the help of a Croatian waitress/cab driver (Kruger) who befriends him after his accident, finally realizes who he really is, he's not exactly the hero we had originally taken him for at the beginning of the story.

So when you find yourself snorting at some of the plot twists and groaning at the ridiculousness of the whole thing, don't say we didn't try to warn you that knowing the "Unknown" really isn't worth the price of admission.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

 



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