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This Week's Movie ReviewUnknown
Four stars

POSTED BY MICHAEL A. SMITH, February 17, 2011    Share

Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger and January Jones
Directed by: Jaume’ Collet-Serra
Rated: PG13
Running time: 1 hours 59 minutes
Warner Brothers

Berlin. Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) and his wife, Elizabeth (Jones) arrive at the local airport to attend a scientific gathering. Martin doesn’t realize until they’ve hit they’re hotel that the cab driver left his briefcase behind. Martin hastily jumps into another cab, urging it to rush back to the airport so he can retrieve the missing case. A freak accident (a quick reminder dear readers – ALWAYS make sure any load you’re carrying is safely secured) puts Martin in a hospital. There it is discovered that his memory has been affected. Things get even worse for Martin when, after returning to the hotel, Elizabeth doesn’t recognize him. Nor do his scientific colleagues. He suddenly finds himself in a battle to regain his memory. “But,” one of those colleagues asks, “what if he remembers everything?”

A strong thriller that’s a cross between the “Bourne” films and Roman Polanski’s “Frantic,” “Unknown” is a sharply directed adventure ride that keeps you guessing up until the very end. Neeson is perfect as a man who learns that all of those things that happened in the past may not have happened. At least not to him. As the cab driver of the ill fated cab, “Inglourious Basterds” co-star Kruger shows that she is much more than just a pretty face. Jones’ roll is the least showiest and she performs it well. My only complaint is that she is WAY too young to be playing Liam Neeson’s wife – there is a 26 year difference between the two. Kudos also to Swiss born German actor Bruno Ganz, who plays a local man whose past may help Martin solve his mystery. In a small role Frank Langella is his usual solid self.

The city of Berlin has never looked better on film, with much credit going to photographer Flavio Labiano. The film is smartly edited and the thrills one would expect are nicely delivered. There are a couple of small things I would quibble with in the continuity department but nothing that really detracted me from the film. Along with the current “The Mechanic” this is a film to jump start the new year.

This Week's Movie Review of "Unknown" is ©2011 by Mike Smith. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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