Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Unknown is a smart and interesting psychological thriller set in modern day Berlin. It stars Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, who along with his wife arrives in Berlin for a Biotechnology summit. Things start to go wrong for Dr. Harris though when the taxi he is riding in plunges off a bridge and into a river. When he wakes up in hospital four days later he has trouble remembering what happened and worse still, his wife doesn’t recognise him and is with another Dr. Martin Harris.

The film follows Neeson on his quest to uncover the facts behind his memory loss and stolen identity. While Neeson does nothing out of the ordinary, he is suited to the role. (To see Neeson in his best role for a long time click here). Along the way Neeson is both helped and hindered by a fantastic, mostly European cast, including Diane Kruger, seen in Inglorious Basterds who is fantastic as the driver of Neeson’s ill fated taxi. Bruno Ganz, famous for playing Hitler in Downfall as well as countless YouTube parodies excels as an ex Stasi agent who helps Neeson uncover the truth. Sebastian Koch who was fantastic in Black Book and also appeared in the masterful The Lives of Others plays a Professor at the summit and he is joined by Karl Markovics from The Counterfeiters who here plays a well meaning doctor. Along with these fine European actors, Frank Langella joins the cast and the only weak link in the whole cast is January Jones of Mad Men fame who as far as I can tell must surely still be getting roles due to her looks as she is as wooden as ever here.

Another star of the film is Berlin itself which looks beautiful. Set in November, the film shows both Berlin’s famous sights as well as the grittier side which I personally love. The concrete buildings of East Berlin help to add to the coldness of the film and a car chase through snowy streets is a highlight.

The twist is not totally obvious and is left for the third act. When it does unfold it is welcomed and the whole plot falls into place. While the film is in no way perfect it is a decent thriller with enough action to go along with its fine acting. It is a far better film in my opinion than Neeson’s recent thriller Taken.



  1. ooh! I didn't know Bruno Ganz was in this film. Might have to give it a look. It's certainly a bold statement to say it's better than Taken, because that was great. Of all the European action thrillers I've seen I'd rate it second. I enjoyed seeing an Irish guy fucking up a LOT of people, but "Hanna" is still better. An Irish girl (pretending to be german) fucking up a lot of people. Class!

  2. Bruno Ganz is excellent but only has a small role. I wasn't a big fan of Taken to be honest. I didn't like the American view of 'Urop' in it, but can see why it was so popular.

    I agree with you about Hanna. I thought that was brilliant.

  3. I watched Hanna again recently. I noticed this time round that Eric Bana's subway station fight scene, not only timed all the punches with the background music, but it was all one shot from leaving the bus station to after the fight. Must've taken them days.