Movie Review – Unknown (2011)

Movie Review - Unknown (2011)A man awakens from a coma, only to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one, (not even his wife), believes him. With the help of a young woman, he sets out to prove who he is.

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers: Oliver Butcher (screenplay), Stephen Cornwell (screenplay)
Stars: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones and Aidan Quinn

“Do you know what it feels like to become insane? It’s a war between being told who you are and knowing who you are… Which do you think wins?” This is a quote from Dr. Martin Harris in the 2011 film Unknown. This is a rather interesting quote that really gets the gears turning in your mind about the topic of insanity.

I have always been a sucker for movies about insanity and/or the altering of reality, so when I had a chance to see Unknown, I was already sold. When I see that the lead role is played by Liam Neeson, that is even better. When I see that the director is Jaume Collet-Serra, who brought us Orphan in 2009, I am really sold.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra brings us a twisted tale, based on the Didier van Cauwelaert novel Out of My Head, which leaves you guessing at every turn as to what is going on in the mind of Dr. Martin Harris, played by the uber-talented Liam Neeson. While watching the movie, you cannot help but put yourself in Harris’ shoes and play along with the situation. As Harris’ plight worsens, you are completely immersed in the film and loving every minute of it.

To start the film, Dr. Martin Harris is in an accident while taking a taxi. Upon awakening, after a four-day coma, his world has been turned upside down. No one, not even his wife, knows who he is. There is someone else married to his wife and playing the role of Dr. Martin Harris. Martin B, played by Aidan Quinn, is now living Harris’ life.Liam Neeson and Aidan Quinn - Unknown

There are some haunting scenes while Harris is trying to piece together the puzzle of what has become his life. When he enters a restaurant to approach his wife thinking that she was worried about her missing husband, he is welcomed by a look of amazement and realizes that his wife has no idea who he is.

Another haunting scenes is when Harris and Harris B. begin to recite the same conversations that Martin has had with a colleague. As if you already did not know the gravity of situation, you now realize how severe it really is.

Make no mistake about Unknown. This is not a clone of Liam Neeson’s taken as many are believing. While Taken was a very good action-packed thriller, it did not have the level of suspense nor the mystery element that Unknown brings to the table. Unknown did have its share of action though.

As far as entertainment goes, and that is why some of us watch movies, Unknown is a solid mystery/thriller that keeps our curiosity piqued and our brains in constant thought. My biggest argument about the movie would be the plot holes that are opened up during the course of the film are most likely thrown in just as a means of misdirection. I do believe that it undermines the integrity of what otherwise would have been an excellent film. Outside of that small complaint, I would recommend Unknown to any thriller fan.

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  • I also thought this was a great movie. I loved the twist at the end. Never saw it coming. Liam is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. Taken was also another great movie. I would recommend both to anyone that hasn’t seen them. And I was one of the many that thought this was a clone of Taken, but was happy that it stood on it’s own.