I love movies and I like to think that my knowledge and appreciation of film is growing to an almost half respectable level. **
Having said that I do spent the vast majority of my cinema going time watching very and on some cases embarrassingly mainstream movies therefore it will come as no surprise to those who know me to learn that there I was on a midweek trip to see Unknown
PLOT: Liam Neeson plays Martin Harris (or does he) a doctor of a science I can neither spell nor pronounce. Martin and his wife (January Jones) travel to Berlin and upon their arrival Martin gets into a car crash and ends up in a coma. Martin awakens four days later to find that no one is looking for him and after carrying out a brief investigation finds that an impostor has taken his place and his wife. There is corruption, there are assassination attempts on Princes and Professors, there are explosions and there is a sense of comfort and relief in the knowledge that although he is ageing Liam Neeson is still one of the coolest people to have come from Northern Ireland (after the members of The Nerdy Trio) (obviously). END PLOT.
The plot of Unknown is pretty standard fare but it doesn’t have delusions of grandeur and there are enough twists and turns involved in order to make it bearable. It is basic but entertaining and sometimes that is all you require.
Unknown was shot with the colour sapped which made Berlin look cold and run down. This suited the movie very well. Unknown did such a good job of making Berlin look unpleasant I now have no real desire to ever go there.
Liam Neeson has got the performance of the only American with a Northern Irish accent down to a fine art. Whenever Martin Harris proudly announced that he was an American in his Ballymena accent the cinema screen failed to suppress their laughter. This has become a running joke with Liam Neeson and the punchline never gets any less amusing. It is especially funny whenever Neeson is trying to portray frustration as it always screams agitated Irishman - although this is all part of the reason why we love him.
Neeson was fine as Martin Harris although the role didn’t exactly stretch him in terms of performance.
January Jones was just awful in every way imaginable and put in one of the worst performances I have had the misfortune of watching. Everything about her casting was wrong. Her character Liz also died one of the most pointless deaths in movie history by running into the room with a bomb and remaining there. Liz apparently didn’t have the strength to smash a mirror (which the bomb was behind) but she was perfectly capable of successfully taking a sledgehammer to a stone wall. It’s annoying whenever bad people in movies are killed off because bad people in film must always get their comeuppance. The death of Liz was completely amateurish.
The rest of the cast, with the exception of the also miscast Aidan Quinn, were fine but this was always going to be a Neeson movie.
The problem is my love for Liam Neeson is obscuring my opinion of this movie, the same thing happened the other week with The Adjustment Bureau. Everything about Unknown was average and run of the mile but I just can’t help but like it.
There are times when a “leave your brain” at the door movie is enough to kill two hours quite nicely and if Liam Neeson wants to add another film to his run of Taken and Unknown I wont be complaining.
Unknown gets a 7/10 (or does it). Liam Neeson can keep doing what he is doing until the time comes when he retires to the sweeping valleys and hills of the green green grass of Los Angeles.
** This claim unfortunately does not extend to the zombie genre although the day is fast approaching (my Easter break) when someone will sit me down and tell me what order to watch the Romero films in.