Unknown

Rated PG-13 109 min. 2011

Think the Bourne films (sans the series’ inherent intelligence) mixed with a tiny bit of Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall (minus that film’s three-breasted Martians) and you get the gist of Jaume Collet-Serra’s Unknown. This, and a plot full of contrivances, coincidences, and general absurdities, don’t quite sink a movie that — viewed dispassionately — works as simple entertainment. But it sure comes close on occasion. Here, we get a surprisingly uninvolved Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, a botanist who’s just landed in Berlin with his wife (an embarrassingly stilted January Jones). Forgetting his briefcase at the airport, Doc Martin leaves his wife at the hotel and catches a cab to go pick it up. But before he makes it back, he ends up in a car wreck that leaves him in a coma for four days. And things don’t get much better for the good doctor, since he wakes up to find out his wife doesn’t recognize him and that another man (Aidan Quinn) is purporting to be Dr. Martin Harris. We then watch as our original Martin attempts to piece together the puzzles of his fractured memory and identity, at first thinking he might just be crazy, before figuring out that things (cue the sting music) aren’t quite what they seem. It’s then a quagmire of geopolitics, espionage, and a slowly unraveling plot. It’s ultimately silly stuff that only thinks its Hitchcockian and it isn’t self-aware enough to realize that it’s actually quite ridiculous.

Film Credits

Official Site: unknownmovie.warnerbros.com

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell

Producer: Leonard Goldberg, Andrew Rona and Joel Silver

Cast: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Frank Langella, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, Sebastian Koch, Mido Hamada, Karl Markovics and Stipe Erceg

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