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'Unknown'Posted Thursday, March 3, 2011, at 10:21 PM
Keeps you guessing until the end
Imagine you're in Berlin, Germany for the first time. In town, with your wife, to serve as a speaker at an important international biotechnology conference with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry. You arrive at your beautiful hotel, only to realize, as you exit the cab, your briefcase, with all your identification and conference materials, was left on the airport curb by the inept cab driver.
Panicked, you leave your wife to check in, grab the nearest cab, and race back to the airport in hopes of recovering your lost items.
Along the way, the young female cab driver, taking a short cut at your request, swerves to avoid an accident, setting into action a series of events resulting in your cab breaking through the bridge barrier and crashing into the icy river below. The brave cab driver risks her own life to rescue you - knocked unconscious by the impact - then flees the scene as medical workers attempt to revive you.
Four days later, you come to, in a Berlin hospital. Your memory is fuzzy and your wife is not with you. You can recall small details from the moments leading up to the accident, and begin to worry about your wife, left alone in a strange town. You check yourself out of the hospital, against doctor's advice, and still without ID, race to the hotel where you locate your wife.
Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) experiences all of this in "Unknown." And when he finally locates his wife, Elizabeth (January Jones), she doesn't know who he is. To make matters worse, her husband, Dr. Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn), has him escorted out of the exclusive gathering by security and police.
Neeson's character begins questioning his sanity and explores all avenues in search of the truth. To complicate matters, there's a group of men tracking him, attempting to end his life for some unknown reason.
The frantic Dr. Harris turns to a former German Secret Service agent, Herr Jurgen (Bruno Ganz), a tracker of persons, to assist him. Intrigued by the story, he agrees and begins his work. Neeson, at Jurgen's request, tracks down the cab driver who saved his life, Gina (Diane Kruger), and asks her to help him trace his steps. With issues of her own, she reluctantly agrees to help the lost doctor.
So begins the adventure, putting Harris and Gina in the cross-hair of a group of assassins.
The longer the movie goes, the more involved the plot becomes as pieces of history begin to unveil themselves and bodies begin falling all around the two unlikely partners. Along the way, the two discover a plot to assassinate an important component of the biotechnology conference, finding themselves working to stop the murder rather than running from the bad guys.
The movie offers a hint of Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman's thriller, "No Way Out," which hit theaters in 1987. All is not what it seems, and the twist at the end will have you saying, "Didn't see that coming." Always a bonus in these type of films. You want to be guessing to the end. "Unknown" does that.
It's not the best suspense thriller I've ever seen, but it's definitely one of the best to come along in quite a while.
On a scale of five popcorn buckets, I would award "Unknown," three-and-a-half. I'd stay away from the butter though, you don't want your hands too slick when your clinging to your arm rests awaiting the outcome. This movie was viewed at the Southpark 7. Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min. MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sexual content.
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Randy Cauthron is the managing editor of the Daily Reporter. He has been with the paper since 2003 and has worked in the newspaper business since 1993. Randy enjoys entertainment and sports. He has wife, Leah and six children living in Spencer. Randy enjoys sharing his opinion on everything from entertainment, pop culture, politics and sports.