Thursday 30 June 2011

Today's Review: Unknown

Hey, look, it's that movie with Liam Neeson, and he's holding a gun. What, it's not Taken? But it looks so much like Taken. Taken was really good, it had loads of guns and murder and that, so this movie must clearly be awesome, because it also stars Liam Neeson and has guns in it. 

In fact this movie isn't really like Taken, and I am annoyed at the extent of which this is being made out to be the next Taken, because it's a pretty good movie in its own right. Unknown stars Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, a botanist who is visiting Berlin to give a presentation at a summit, only instead to have his taxi crash and leave him in a coma for a few days. When he finally wakes up and finds his wife, however, she claims to have no idea who he is, and someone else has assumed his identity. Ooooh, freaky.

So off Dr. Martin Harris goes to find out what the hell's going on, but it seems someone is intent on stopping him from knowing the truth. I call him Dr. Martin Harris because that's all he calls himself. Never Martin, or Dr. Harris, always "Dr. Martin Harris", and he shouts it around enough that it seems he thinks people will just believe him if he says his own name enough.

But, in a place where no one believes who he says he is, there is one person Dr. Martin Harris can turn to, the driver of the taxi, Nina, played by Diane Kruger. Nina is an illegal immigrant, so doesn't particularly want to get tangled up in this, but she agrees to help anyway, because she's a kind soul I guess. Why they cast a German actress to play an illegal immigrant in Berlin, I have no idea, but she fits the part quite well, even if that character doesn't end up doing too much except being some good moral support for Dr. Martin Harris. 

To help dispel the assumed similarities between Unknown and Taken, I shall start by saying that Taken was a pretty good movie too. But all it was about was a guy killing loads of people because they took his daughter and pissed him off. Unknown is a little bit deeper than that. There are several twists and turns in the plot, including a massive plot twist at the end that was actually pretty cool. The first half is predominantly concerned with following Dr. Martin Harris as he wanders around confused, and Neeson does a good job of getting you to empathise with him, you really just want to know what the hell is going on. But as the story progresses it does move a little more into Taken territory, with Dr. Martin Harris managing to dispatch and evade the people who are out to get him. Still, the plot is well paced, maybe getting a little too over the top near the end, but overall it's a pretty good movie. 

If you did like Taken, you'll probably like this, although you may get bored in the first half if you're just there for killings and guns and such. But both are good movies, and they both star Liam Neeson, so if you're the type of person who like all their movies to be the same, knock yourself out. But Unknown is a good movie in its own right, and would be even if Taken didn't exist, so could everyone please stop comparing the two?

My rating: 4/5

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