Liam Neeson towers over everyone with his tall physique in the new psychological thriller Unknown and his overpowering presence is one of the only good things about this flat film.
Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) and his wife Liz (January Jones) travel to Berlin for a biotech conference, but Harris accidentally leaves his briefcase at the airport. The couple make it all the way to the hotel before Harris figures out it's missing, so he takes a taxi back. En route to the airport, he is in a terrible accident and is in a coma for four days.
When he returns to the hotel to find his wife, she does not know who he is and insists another man (Aiden Quinn) is her husband named Martin Harris.
Harris finds the taxi driver, Gina (Diane Kruger), and makes it his mission to find out why this new man has taken over his life.
There are quite a lot of twists and turns and the ending is definitely a surprise - it actually makes up for the mediocre set up leading to the big reveal.
The film is completely unrealistic at times and it seems to rely more on the shock factor and plot twists than any substantial story or character development.
Director Juame Collet-Sera focuses on stuffing as many twists into the ever-changing plot as he can; he doesn't seem to consider the details or concern himself with flushing out the plot to create a seamless story.
For example, Neeson tries to convince a colleague from Berlin, whom he's never me but talked with on the phone, that he is the actual Martin Harris. Both alledged Martin Harris' are in the same room trying to convince the man. Wouldn't you think the man would recognize the right voice from the phone conversations?
The film seems to assume the audience will simply accept things that make it convenient for the filmmakers.
They want us to take the movie seriously, but include a lot of silly car explosions and bombing scenes without any outside ramifications or explanation - similar to a lot of action movies people know not to take seriously, but not what you would expect in a thinking psychological thriller.
Neeson is one of the only good things about the film and he is convincing as a man thoroughly confused and desperate. He proves he can perform the action scenes as well as any limber young action star, but he's also got the acting chops to complete the package.
Diane Kruger plays a convincing sidekick, although we're not sure why German-born Kruger would play a illegal immigrant from Eastern Europe who's in Berlin. Again, the filmmakers just conveniently include her, but don't provide any real explanation for her or develop her character, which would have made the story even richer.
Overall, you will be entertained with some great twists and it will keep you on the edge of your seat, but don't try to think about it too much.