REVIEW: Unknown

First of all, let’s take a trip back down memory lane, shall we? Approximately two years ago in 2009, there was the release of action-thriller and darkly natured film – Taken, which starred Liam Neeson but resulted a critically mixed reception. However, where Taken comes into frame with Unknown is due to the similarities of the style of theme, cinematography and both having slightly identical aspects of dialogue. So, Unknown could quite easily be misunderstood as a loose sequel to Taken. Between them, Unknown is definitely the better film that features more action, more excitement and more of a gripping and controversial story.

From a critical perspective, Unknown is not going to be an Oscar contender in the slightest because we have seen so many films similar to it in the past, but as a whole, it delivers exactly what was expected of it: entertainment at its highest quality and a strong candidate for a night-in on a Friday or Saturday. It entertains its audience with exhilarating and explosive action with a very shocking plot twist, and in recent years there hasn’t really been as many powerful twists and turns that occur in Unknown.

Liam Neeson returns to action in a huge way as biochemist Dr. Martin Harris! As well as Taken and previously taking part in other action films, Neeson proves himself worthy as a possible candidate for The Expendables (should there be a third film). Considering his age is at 59 years old, Neeson brings forth a character that isn’t only intense, emotional and badass to watch, but also charms on-screen with women decades younger than him! His on-screen relationship with January Jones was very powerful and provided a lot of raw affect to it, but the bond that he has with Diane Kruger is even stronger as they slowly develop a liking for each other.

German-born actress Diane Kruger proved herself worthy of a Hollywood actress most notably in her role as Bridget Von Hammersmark in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, but now stars in her latest major role since then and goes on to be part of something very different that we hadn’t seen from her before. Considering that the story is in fact set in Germany, she perfectly defines the characteristics of her portrayed character Gina: blonde German, sexy, has a desired heart and yet the innocence of a young woman. It would be great to see Kruger return again in an action film like this in the future. Another young shining star January Jones portrays Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Harris (the wife of Dr. Martin Harris), and although she does not appear throughout the majority of the film, her performance was very good! Oscar nominated actor Frank Langella makes a supporting appearance too. This cast joins the forces of Americans and Germans into one film, and considering that it’s set in Germany with the majority being American characters and actors, it worked incredibly well.

Spanish film director Jaume Collet-Serra, who’s previous works consisted of House Of Wax, Goal! 2: Living The Dream and Orphan. With these films behind his back despite none of them receiving critical acclaim, he goes on to make his fourth feature film that is in an identical action style from directors such as Paul Greengrass and Christopher Nolan. Collet-Serra generally mixed approximately five genres (action, drama, mystery, romance, thriller) at once and manages to provide many different emotions for the viewers to reflect on whilst watching the film, as well as the aftermath when the credits roll. The action scenes weren’t overloaded with visual effects like you’d see in theTransformers series amongst other films in recent memory, and in Unknown the effects were clear enough to feel the reality of what’s going on within the film, and to take the journey with the characters.

Overall, Unknown is a solid, action-packed thrill ride that is a great popcorn film and will keep you off the edge of your seat all the way through. Liam Neeson never ceases to bore his audience in any of his action films, and hopefully he’ll never lose that. From a personal point of view, the idea of a sequel might be interesting to see although it is unlikely. Collet-Serra’s work in this one battles with George Nolfi’s work on The Adjustment Bureau due to the similarities and both were released at almost the exact same time. However, although the latter just about prevails through, Unknown really isn’t far behind, and still remains as one of the most entertaining films of 2011.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 15/05/2012.

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