Sunday, June 12, 2011

Unknown: Satisfied But Not Taken

Being a fan of Liam Neeson films, I had high expectations of the action-thriller, UNKNOWN, especially after his effective performance as a rampaging father on TAKEN. 

Neeson plays Dr. Martin Harris, an American biotechnology expert attending a scientific conference in Berlin with his unfeasibly young wife, Liza (portrayed by the beautiful January Jones). As they enter their designated hotel, Dr. Harris realizes that he had left his briefcase at the airport, while his wife checks in at the concierge inside the lobby of the hotel. He leaves on a taxi leaving his wife inside, which unfortunately crashes into the river, leaving him in a coma for four days. After waking up, having some kind of partial amnesia, he discovers that his wife does not recognize him, and there's another Dr. Martin Harris who has taken his identity. The story progresses with him trying to remember who he is, accompanied by the girl who was in the crash with him (Dianne Kruger), with persistent assassins trying to kill him.

I enjoyed the movie because of the twists and intriguing unfolding of events, just like most Liam Neeson films I've seen in the past. As expected, Neeson portrayed a man with amnesia very effectively - with that signature worried face, towering body and calm voice. I'm afraid I couldn't say the same about the female co-stars, who were not really deeply involved with their characters. 

The first hour or so of the movie will leave you on your seat thinking and asking questions to yourself. However, as the movie progresses, the plot begins to unfold itself, and I couldn't help but think of these words: Cliche, typical and bland. I don't know, maybe I had too much fun watching his other movie TAKEN, that I expected him to be more of a bad ass in UNKNOWN. TAKEN had more spine gripping suspense, dramatic portrayal and more importantly, had more soul. I probably also expected a lot of smart, uncanny moves by Dr. Harris in order to get back his identity, like what he did in TAKEN. Instead, he was more of an unaggressive, reserved person who suddenly remembered he has James Bond fighting skills towards the end of the movie. I just know that the writer and director of the film did not maximize the acting skills of Neeson here, which could made movie much better.

 Discussing more about the plot will already spoil it for those who haven't seen it. 

But aside from that, the film is definitely has its share of action, a dark spy-movie atmosphere to it, and has a very intriguing story build up, which makes it a great movie to watch from beginning to end. People who are less critical of plot development, and would like a perfectly paced action thriller that will keep them on their toes, I personally recommend this film.

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