The Carmike 10 Theater in Fort Collins showing Unknown tonight was busy. The crowd filed in hoping to see a well done film with Liam Neeson at the lead. Perhaps, similar to his successful 2008 hit Taken. However, if they were expecting its equal, they were sorely disappointed.
Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) is a big-shot biologist scheduled to present at a conference in Berlin. He is accompanied on the trip by his beautiful blonde wife Liz (January Jones). The conference will be attended by some of the greatest minds in the science world. They are discussing a revolutionary strand of corn that could have a big impact for many different parties.
Arriving in Berlin, the couple takes a taxi from the airport to their hotel. When they arrive¸ Martin realizes that he has forgotten a very important briefcase while unloading their luggage. Liz goes ahead and checks at the front desk, as Martin jumps back into the taxi to return to the airport.
On the way back a large object flies off of a working truck causing Martin’s driver (Diana Kruger) to swerve off the road and over a bridge. Martin is knocked unconscious from a blow to the head when the car hits the water. Luckily, the driver is able to pull him out of the river and bring him to safety.
Martin awakes in a foreign hospital with no familiar faces to comfort him. He quickly grows uneasy with his wife’s absence and the details of his incident fuzzy in his mind. He leaves the hospital and dashes back to the hotel in hopes of finding his wife safe. The hotel is hosting a gathering where Martin easily spots Liz in a black dress. He is allowed in, with some hesitation from the staff and approaches Liz. She is attending the party with another man (Aidan Quinn) who’s wearing a nametag that reads “Dr. Martin Harris.”
Harris (Neeson) is confused with the weird turn of events and then outraged that Liz won’t confirm his identity. He is escorted out by hotel security, screaming all the way; he appears crazy. Martin pleads his case to the head of security without any success. He is distraught but determined to uncover the truth.
In Martin’s quest to find the answers he seeks, he demonstrates tremendous acuity and skill under pressure. His ability to weave through traffic and locate people who can find the right information is uncanny. With each additional piece of information the situation gets messier. Martin will find his answers, but will he like them and what will they force him to do?
Neeson puts in another solid performance as a badass who tracks people down and wrecks things. January Jones is less than spectacular in her role often looking out of place with her emotions. The action sequences are at best average as they lack in creativity and boldness. Except for a couple of cheap thrills, this movie is forgettable. This “thriller” has a lot of talk and not enough suspense.
The idea behind Unknown is intriguing, but the storyline is punctured with holes. A late plot twist answers some of our questions but leaves too many. Most importantly, the meaning of the movie gets washed out with all the confusion. The frustration of it all is just too much to handle.