MOVIE: Unknown (2011)

This movie was almost universally panned by reviewers when it first hit theaters a few weeks ago.  But most of the reviews I read, especially Ebert’s, made it sound so bad it might actually be good, which is really all it takes to get my butt into a theater seat.

I spent most of the movie nodding in agreement while ticking off each one of Ebert’s criticisms in my head.  Until I got to the end, that is, when suddenly, all those complaints were completely resolved by a twist that I, personally, found  satisfyingly unexpected.  That made me wonder:  Did Ebert actually stay until the end?  Because in the context of what happens in the last 20 minutes or so, his review makes almost no sense whatsoever.

Huh.  Maybe he fell asleep.  I suppose I can’t really blame him for that.

Anyway, look, you know this isn’t going to be a great movie, right?  I mean, it’s an action flick about a guy who gets conked on the head and loses his memory — it’s not a “film.”   Nevertheless, despite some truly boring acting on the part of January Jones (has she EVER done anything interesting?  Why does she still have a job?), I found it to be fairly well-acted and entertaining.

Liam Neeson plays a doctor, Martin Harris, traveling to Berlin with his boring wife (Jones — why he couldn’t have a wife his own age is beyond me, but whatever, Hollywood) for a conference.  His briefcase gets left behind at the airport, so he leaves his wife at the hotel to check in while he climbs back into a cab to go fetch it.  On the way back, though, the cab gets into an accident, and Harris ends up in a coma for four days.

When he wakes up, he finds he’s been replaced by an impostor (Aidan Quinn), a man everyone says is the real Martin Harris, including his wife.  Meanwhile, a group of bad guys are after him, trying to take him out — mostly a bad thing except for the part where it at least lets him know he’s not crazy.  Right?  RIGHT?

There are a lot of car chases, loads of silly dialogue, and all the other kinds of stuff you’d expect from a thriller of this nature.  But it was exactly the sort of movie I was in the mood for, and I definitely got what I wanted from it:  two hours of satisfying entertainment.  You could do a lot worse, is what I’m saying.

And Ebert:  you’re fired.  (Ha ha!  Just kidding, man.  I still love you.)

[Prequeue it at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Thriller
Cast: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, Frank Langella,


9 Responses to “MOVIE: Unknown (2011)”

  1. Melinda Says:

    Is it just me, or did they try to make Mr Neeson look like Daniel Craig on that poster?

  2. Trip Says:

    So I have to know: what is it with all the hate for January Jones, especially from women? Most I know can’t stand the sight of her. What gives?

  3. megwood Says:

    I don’t hate her, I just think she’s incredible boring. She’s especially incredibly boring in this. I haven’t seen her in many other things, though. Is there something you’ve seen her in that you thought she totally rocked, Trip?

  4. RogerBW Says:

    I don’t think I’d ever heard of her before Unknown – I’m not a fan of Mad Men; while I enjoyed Love, Actually her part in that was pretty dispensable; and I don’t seem to have seen anything else she’s done.

  5. Trip Says:

    That’s just it, she hasn’t really been in anything else that’s immediately memorable, which is why I’m amused at the level of feminine hatred for her that I encounter.

    It ranges from, at a minimum, simple indifference: “Oh her…yeah, MEH” to off the hook: “I wish she would just die in a fire!”

    I mean, Nicholas Cage annoys the hell out of me, but he doesn’t inspire visceral loathing on that level.

    Personally, I think she has the Grace Kelly or Eva Saint-Marie looks for sure, and I’ll withhold further judgment until I see her pull off Emma Frost in the next X-Men flick.

  6. megwood Says:

    Huh, I’ve never heard any “hatred” for January Jones. Just boredom. Maybe women hate her because she’s getting jobs just because she’s pretty? Do those women also hate Megan Fox?

  7. Trip Says:

    I’m comfortable with baselessly answering that question with “indubitably!” for now.

    An interesting topic, though…the question stands for all: which actors/esses just offends your skin?

    For me, it’s Cage, Tara Reid, Steven Seagal, David Spade, Adam Sandler’s starting to get up there, and I really want to like Jennifer Aniston, but her choices in projects is just abysmal.

  8. RogerBW Says:

    Angelina Jolie and Ashton Kutcher are the first two who come to mind. Oh, and John Travolta. There are some faces that just look wrong to me, and that distracts me from whatever else is going on.

  9. review Says:


    MOVIE: Unknown (2011) |

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