Dr. Martin Harris is the main character in the new thriller “Unknown.” There are two men in the story who claim to be the “real” Dr. Harris. Liam Neeson plays the first one who is traveling to an international conference with his beautiful wife Elizabeth (January Jones). At the conference, another man claims to be the real Dr. Harris and Elizabeth is all too willing to accept him as her husband. That strange situation and the mysteries that arrive with it are all part of the allure of this suspenseful thriller.
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In “Unknown,” the original Dr. Harris (Neeson) is flying to the conference with his wife. Upon arrival, the couple accidentally leave a piece of luggage at the airport. When they arrive at their hotel, Dr. Harris realizes that his luggage is missing and returns to the airport. Before he gets there, his taxi crashes leaving Harris in a coma for several days.
When he wakes up, he returns to the hotel to find his wife. When he sees her in a crowd, she claims that she doesn’t know him. She points to another man (Aidan Quinn) and states that he is her husband. He’s the “real” Dr. Harris. At this point, the camera closes in on Neeson’s face as the background spins behind him showing his state of disbelief. Who is the real Dr. Harris? Who is this man posing as his replacement? Why is his wife pretending that this impostor is her real husband? The answers to these questions are slowly revealed in this taut thriller.
Even when the original Dr. Harris figures out ways to expose the man pretending to be him, he is constantly outsmarted. The “fake” Dr. Harris has identification. He has pictures with Elizabeth. He knows what Dr. Harris has told some of his colleagues. The fake Dr. Harris seems to know everything about Dr. Harris that the real Dr. Harris knows. You following that?
In a thriller such as this, action sequences go a long way and this one has several of them that will bring audiences to the edge of their seats. After Neeson enlists the help of a local taxi driver (Diane Kruger), the two of them are constantly being chased by mysterious hit men who are trying to kill them both. The chase scenes are well-done and genuinely suspenseful.
The story is also full of surprises. Even if you think you have it figured out, events veer into new directions leading audiences on a fun thrill ride.
The weakest element is the logic behind the whole thing. If you are coming into this movie ready to analyze it to make sure the whole story stands on its own, you might as well buy a ticket for the new Justin Bieber movie. “Unknown” is fun and action-packed but it has some plot holes and a few lazy twists that occur because the plot requires them to.
Aside from that, I highly recommend “Unknown.” It has a few great twists, several strong action sequences and strong performances from Neeson and Frank Langella (who shows up for a few brief but important scenes). Even though this movie isn’t great, it’s an interesting story that will lead audiences to enjoy the “unknown.”