Truth & Identity… “Unknown”

Truth & Identity… “Unknown”

Optimum Releasing

Release date (UK): March 4th, 2011
Running time: 113 Minutes

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Liam Neeson, January Jones, Diane Kruger

FaceBook Fanpage (UK)

“This is a novel that really, really
wants to be a movie.” Sophie Harrison
(New York Times Book Review, 2005)

Didier van Cauwelaert’s story Out Of My Head – the blueprint for Jaume Collet-Serra’s movie – has received enthusiastic reviews, not least for its “captivating twists” and a finale that would perplex even die-hard thriller fans. And if you believe what’s been said in the cast and crew interviews, Unknown hasn’t lost any of this quality.

UnknownOn the surface, the plot sounds rather simple: After having a terrible accident, scientist Dr. Martin Harris wakes up from a coma to find “the world has amnesia about [him]” (Collet-Serra). Someone else has taken his identity, his wife doesn’t know him, the authorities don’t believe him and eventually he’s hunted by mysterious assassins.

Obviously, the story’s not that simple. Beyond the framework of identity, insanity and truth it’s about the human brain which is “like a Jigsaw puzzle, and if some of the pieces are moved around, you can wake up with a completely new identity”, says director Collet-Serra, suggesting the theme of the movie with the question “What makes us who we are?”

UnknownSpanish-born Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, 2009) is regarded by many as an extremely talented director. Lead actor Liam Neeson puts him next to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas when it comes to filmmaker obsession, as a guy who “grew up with a camera in his hands” and is a “storyteller with cameras”. Collet-Serra’s “knowledge and his expertise is quite extraordinary”, says Neeson.

The actor himself, turning 60 next year, seems to acquire a taste for actioners (Taken, 2008) in conjunction with pretty complicated characters (After.Life, 2009) or some dry humour (A-Team, 2010). UnknownAnd apparently he had a lot of fun filming the action scenes for Unknown, saying about the clashes with Aidan Quinn (who plays Neeson’s nemesis) they both were like “guys in their fifties pretending to be 30-year-olds”. But Neeson admits he’s done a lot of training for the movie so we can safely assume he’s flexing his muscles for real.

I think the question what’s real and what not will keep us guessing throughout the movie. According to director Jaume Collet-Serra (born 1974 by the way) there are clues all the time that ultimately will fall into place:

“I like movies with a twist that I cannot figure out while I’m reading the script, and that’s one of them.”

Well, for now, enjoy the following car chase through Berlin, and just in case you don’t know it, “Berliner Kindl” is a quite popular beer in Germany.

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