Plot summary (from the studio): Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) awakens after a car accident in Berlin to discover that his wife (January Jones) suddenly doesn’t recognize him and another man (Aidan Quinn) has assumed his identity. Ignored by disbelieving authorities and hunted by mysterious assassins, he finds himself alone, tired, and on the run. Aided by an unlikely ally (Diane Kruger), Martin plunges headlong into a deadly mystery that will force him to question his sanity, his identity, and just how far he’s willing to go to uncover the truth.
Warning: MAJOR spoilers below!
- As I was watching this, I had a massive “OMFG, yeah right!” moment when Dr. Harris, this nobody college prof and biotech researcher, was able to hold his own in a fight with hired killers and pull off evasive driving maneuvers on the street. I hate when average Joes in movies suddenly turn into superheroes in terms of these obscure skills. So even though I didn’t particularly like the reveal that he was actually an assassin, I did appreciate the fact that it explained a few things.
- I thought the initial pacing and setup of the plot were very good. I was actually engaged in the film and wanted to know what the hell was going on with Harris and why his wife was in on the ruse.
- Diane Kruger wasn’t all that believable as a barely-holding-on immigrant. She looked way too put-together and beautiful the whole time. I’m not saying there aren’t gorgeous poor people out there, but come on.
- Berlin wasn’t shown in a very flattering light. There was graffiti all over the walls in SO MANY shots in this film. I don’t know if that’s how the city really is or if this was just an odd choice of the location scout, but it was fairly distracting to me. Maybe that was just a shorthand way of saying Harris was in the seedy part of town? Who knows.
- So a guy who has been an assassin for a significant part of his adult life gets knocked on the head and meets a nice woman and that’s suddenly enough to precipitate a massive change of heart??? I didn’t buy Harris’ “conversion” one bit and thought he deserved to be blown up every bit as much as Liz.
Obviously there are bound to be tons of plot holes in a movie like this and viewers can pick apart different scenes and character actions to say, “Why didn’t _____ just do ______ instead of _______?” If that’s how you watch films, then you probably won’t enjoy Unknown. If, instead, you’re just interested in being entertained for a while, this one does the job reasonably well. I give it 3 stars out of 5.