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Unknown
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Unknown

3.4 5
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra, Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones

Cast: Jaume Collet-Serra, Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones

 

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Liam Neeson headlines this thriller about a prominent doctor on a business trip to Germany when he awakens from a coma to find that another man has stolen his identity and taken over his life. Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) has just arrived in Berlin to deliver an important presentation when he realizes that his briefcase has gone missing, and leaves his wife, Elizabeth (

Overview

Liam Neeson headlines this thriller about a prominent doctor on a business trip to Germany when he awakens from a coma to find that another man has stolen his identity and taken over his life. Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) has just arrived in Berlin to deliver an important presentation when he realizes that his briefcase has gone missing, and leaves his wife, Elizabeth (January Jones), at their hotel to try and retrieve it. During his cab ride back to the airport, however, a serious car accident lands Dr. Harris in the hospital, where he lies in a coma for four days. Upon awakening, Dr. Harris is horrified to discover that every relic of his identity has been completely erased. His shock is soon compounded when, upon seeking out his wife at a lavish party, another man (Aidan Quinn) appears by her side claiming to be the real Dr. Martin Harris, and requests that hotel security protect them from the unstable "imposter." Facing total denial from everyone he turns to, Dr. Harris gets a tip from a sympathetic nurse to seek out the assistance of Ernst Jürgen (Bruno Ganz), the former head of the German Secret Police, who implores him to track down Gina (Diane Kruger), the illegal immigrant taxi driver who narrowly saved his life, and may hold the answers to all of his questions. Now, the closer Dr. Harris gets to solving the mystery, the greater the danger becomes until the astonishing truth is revealed, plunging him into a desperate race against time.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
It's tempting, sometimes, to dismiss a movie based purely on how derivative we perceive it to be rather than judging it on its own merit -- especially when the films that influenced it share a certain amount of critical or popular acclaim. A pulpy amalgamation of everything from vintage Hitchcock to The Bourne Identity, Unknown certainly isn't the most original thriller ever to grace the silver screen, though tight scripting, solid action, and well-executed twists make it a perfectly fitting follow-up to Liam Neeson's surprise 2008 hit Taken, and a fast-paced mystery that's sure to please all but the most jaded and cynical of moviegoers. Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) has just arrived in Berlin to deliver an important presentation when he realizes that his briefcase has gone missing, and leaves his wife, Elizabeth (January Jones), at their hotel to try and retrieve it. During his cab ride back to the airport, however, a serious car accident lands Dr. Harris in the hospital, where he lies in a coma for four days. Upon awakening, Dr. Harris is horrified to discover that every relic of his identity has been completely erased. His shock is soon compounded when, upon seeking out his wife at a lavish party, another man (Aidan Quinn) appears by her side claiming to be the real Dr. Martin Harris, and requests that hotel security protect them from the unstable "imposter." Facing total denial from everyone he turns to, Dr. Harris gets a tip from a sympathetic nurse to seek out the assistance of Ernst Jürgen (Bruno Ganz), the former head of the German Secret Police, who implores him to track down Gina (Diane Kruger), the illegal immigrant taxi driver who narrowly saved his life, and may hold the answers to all of his questions. Now, the closer Dr. Harris gets to solving the mystery, the greater the danger becomes until the astonishing truth is revealed, plunging him into a desperate race against time. Say what you will about the originality of the story, but Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell's screenplay does a commendable job of paring down Didier Van Cauwelaert's original novel (Out of My Head) into a lean, efficient mystery that succeeds in drawing us into the story even before the opening credits have finished. However, the effectiveness of their screenplay doesn't merely rest in their ability to present a scenario that first appears impossible, then peel away the layers of deceit so that everything starts to make sense at just the right stride, but also in their ability to embrace the absurdity of the situation and draw some intriguing parallels between Dr. Harris, trapped in a foreign country with no sense of identity or self, and his reluctant ally Gina, whose illegal status makes her something of a stranger in a strange land as well. While that particular story element never takes precedence over the action, it does bond the protagonists in a way that makes us want to root for them, while simultaneously raising the stakes for both as tensions swell to a crescendo. Meanwhile, director Jaume Collet-Serra works well with cinematographer (and occasional Álex de la Iglesia collaborator) Flavio Labiano to give Unknown a seductively glossy sheen and keep the action scenes coherent without feeling restrained; the fights are fast and brutal, the chase scenes animated and exhilarating, and the suspense scenes handled with careful attention to pacing to achieve maximum impact courtesy of editor Timothy Alverson. In front of the camera, Neeson continues his winning streak as one of his generation's most magnetic action stars, Kruger does a commendable job of balancing quiet pride with growing desperation (even if her Bosnian accent isn't exactly airtight), and Ganz instills the film with levity and gravity as a bored sleuth with not only a remarkable talent for sniffing out the truth, but also a unique perspective on German history. And while moviegoers with an equally solid grasp of cinema history may find themselves getting too caught up in pointing out the derivatives of the screenplay to give Unknown a fair shake, those willing to go with the flow and lose themselves in the action will be treated to a satisfying subversion of Hitchcock's man-on-the-run motif.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/21/2011
UPC:
0883929157730
Original Release:
2011
Rating:
PG-13
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:53:00
Sales rank:
10,932

Special Features

Unknown: What Is Known? - investigate the characters and plot of this international trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Liam Neeson Dr. Martin Harris
Diane Kruger Gina
January Jones Elizabeth Harris
Aidan Quinn Martin B
Bruno Ganz Ernst Jürgen
Frank Langella Rodney Cole
Sebastian Koch Professor Bressler
Olivier Schneider Smith
Stipe Erceg Jones
Rainer Bock Herr Strauss
Mido Hamada Prince Shada
Clint Dyer Biko
Karl Markovics Dr. Farge
Eva Löbau Nurse Gretchen
Helen Wiebensohn Laurel Bressler
Merle Wiebensohn Lily Bressler
Adnan Maral Turkish Taxi Driver
Torsten Michaelis Airport Taxi Driver
Rainer Sellien Control Room Detective
Petra Hartung Control Room Detective
Michael Baral Hotel Adlon Receptionist
Sanny Van Heteren Hotel Adlon Receptionist
Ricardo Dürner Hotel Adlon Doorman
Marlon Putzke Hotel Adlon Bellhop
Herbert Olschok Hans Brandt
Karla Trippel Hotel Cashier
Petra Schmidt-Schaller Immigration Officer
Annabelle Mandeng TV Anchor
Janina Flieger University Receptionist
Fritz Roth Taxi Depot Manager
Heike Hanold-Lynch Lost & Found Clerk
Matthias Weidenhöffer Hotel Control Room Guard
Kida Khodr Ramadan Café Owner
Peter Becker Hotel Guard
Vladimir Pavic Club Bouncer
Oliver Stolz River Samaritan
Oliver Lang Club DJ
Sebastian Stielke Brandt's Assistant

Technical Credits
Jaume Collet-Serra Director
Tim Alverson Editor
Aaron Auch Associate Producer
Richard Bridgland Production Designer
Oliver Butcher Screenwriter
Charlotte Chang Makeup
Stephen Cornwell Screenwriter
Olivier Courson Co-producer
Stephen Dobric Art Director
Susan Downey Executive Producer
Ethan Erwin Associate Producer
Christoph Fisser Co-producer
Leonard Glowinski Co-producer
Leonard J. Goldberg Producer
Pamela Grujic Makeup
Ron Halpern Co-producer
Susanne Kasper Makeup
Max Keene Asst. Director
Mickey Kirsten Special Effects Supervisor
Adam Kuhn Co-producer
Flavio M. LaBiano Cinematographer
Peter Mcaleese Executive Producer
Lorna McGowan Makeup
Sarah Meyer Executive Producer
Richard Mirisch Co-producer
Henning Molfenter Co-producer
Anja Müller Art Director
Ruth Myers Costumes/Costume Designer
Cornelia Ott Art Director
John Ottman Score Composer
Steve Richards Executive Producer
Andrew Rona Producer
Andy Ross Musical Direction/Supervision
Alexander Rudd Score Composer
Joel Silver Producer
Lucinda Syson Casting
Noriko Watanabe Makeup
Charlie Woebcken Co-producer

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