Unknown – I.D. Issues At Their Worst

This is a film about a man who loses his memory, gets chased by mystery killers, hires a down-at-heel private investigator, saves the lives of many innocent people and who gets saved himself by a mystery girl who is also a hot-shot stunt driver. If this all sounds crashingly unoriginal, that’s because it is. From start to finish.

Professor Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) and his wife (January Jones) travel from the US to a hotel in Berlin for a biotechnology convention. Martin inadvertently leaves his briefcase at the airport and takes a taxi back but, en route, is involved in a serious car crash. He is in a coma for four days but when he returns to his hotel his wife is with another man, who also claims to be Dr Martin Harris. The real Martin Harris has to prove he is just that.

The first hour of this film is spent with Liam Neeson wandering around Berlin, with no idea what’s going on which, unfortunately, is the same position as the audience finds itself in. In amongst all this confusion, a lot of expectation is being set up that raises some monumental questions and, with each question, comes the sneaking suspicion that there might be nothing to back it up, which turns out to be the case. As the story’s secrets come tumbling out, usually by way of clunky dialogue, each reveal brings with it more questions than answers and things are crammed into place so clumsily at the end that an extra push could have sent it into the realms of fiasco.

Unfortunately, there’s hardly one single surprise in the entire two hours; all everyone seems to be doing is going through standard action/thriller motions. Dialogue like “it’s not safe”, “you’re being watched” is thrown around, the mystery killers keep popping in and the obligatory car chases are made even less exciting by the presence of a white Mercedes in each one. The Mercedes issue also got me wondering if the editor had been able to cut footage from the different chases to save on car wrecking costs and, when your mind starts to wonder like that, you realize how much trouble this film is really in.

Another time filler is to guess who is, and who is not, going to get bumped off. Obviously the female taxi driver with the model looks is there to stay, but the tubby nurse is, most definitely, on borrowed time. Others come and go more or less as expected, but the one person who hangs around for far too long is Miss January Jones. Seeing Betty Draper from Mad Men pop up when you go to the movies is a little disconcerting, mainly because she plays the exact same sweet wife-y role that she does on the TV show. This doesn’t seem to be a particularly smart career move and I really do hope, for her sake, that that’s not all she’s got.


Netherlands – 21 January 2011

Argentina – 17 February 2011

Kazakhstan – 17 February 2011

Portugal – 17 February 2011

Russia – 17 February 2011

Slovenia – 17 February 2011

Canada – 18 February 2011

Estonia – 18 February 2011

Latvia – 18 February 2011

Romania – 18 February 2011

USA – 18 February 2011

Czech Republic – 24 February 2011

Singapore – 24 February 2011

Bulgaria – 25 February 2011

Italy – 28 February 2011

France – 2 March 2011

Germany – 3 March 2011

Lithuania – 4 March 2011

UK – 4 March 2011

Egypt – 23 March 2011

Hungary – 14 April 2011

Poland – 29 April 2011