Sunday, 13 March 2011

REVIEW: Unknown

Dir.: Jaume Collet-Serra
With: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger

I only went to see this because of the film’s topography. It is set in modern Berlin and I couldn’t help but say ‘yep, been there, done that, froze my ass off right here, got off at this tube station, etc’ throughout the movie. So, for me the film was already a nice experience from the word ‘go’. I must admit that “Unknown” pleasantly surprised me. It is high-paced, entertaining and well made. The story is slightly questionable; the logic of events is a little off-hand (without ruining it for those who haven’t seen it yet, two words – sensory memory?!).

Although it does remind me of Bourne, with its identity-less protagonist and European chic, “Unknown” is by no means a paler alternative. Still, it could have been much worse, if Liam Neeson wasn’t cast in it. He has so much gravitas on screen that he’d make any flimsy character instantly more believable. The only problem I have with him, although I like him very much, is that I always think of him as Oskar Schindler. So, whenever I watch something with Neeson, I think: ‘oh, there’s Schindler shooting at some dude’ or ‘there’s Schindler with a beard, pretending to be Zeus’. Maybe it’s just me though. It seems that his career is currently developing along two contrasting paths: on the one hand you have him in “Taken” and the “A-team”, shooting and killing any mofo who comes in his way, and you also have films like “Batman begins and “Clash of the Titans” where he is the wise and elderly mentor-figure (much like another Celt, Sean Connery a couple of decades ago). I guess he is just versatile :-) or doesn’t want to do any more serious dramas.

The ladies in the film are two lovely blondes – January Jones of Mad Men, playing a wife, again; and Diane Kruger, a German playing a Bosnian in Germany (haha). They play off well in contrast to each other; it is interesting to see which one turns out to be more ‘genuine’ to Liam Neeson’s character in the end.

The real highlights for me were all the proper German actors involved in this movie. You might remember them yourselves from “The Downfall”, “Lives of Others” and “The Educators”. Bruno Ganz, who played Hitler in “The Downfall”, was absolutely great as an ex-Stasi officer, trying to cope with the present in a tiny Berlin flat. Him and Frank Langella had a lovely scene which is so subtle that much was left unsaid in it.

And on another note, people have started sending me links to interesting documentaries, articles, photo shoots, etc about films and filmmaking because of this blog. I thank you all for thinking of me and keep them coming! x

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