I have a feeling that Unknown may actually not be that good of a movie, but for some reason, Neeson is enthralling in these sort of high-stakes Eurotrips. It’s a great setup. Neeson is knocked unconcious in the opening minutes, is in a coma for a few days, and when he finally wakes up, he finds someone else has taken over his life. No one believes Neeson’s story — probably because his wife doesn’t back him up. This leaves the rest of the movie for Liam to run around Berlin, trying to prove his case and uncovering a vast Eco-terror plot in the process.
Liam simply owns these movies, and it’s to his credit that he’s reinvented himself as a thinking man’s action star. There’s also great supporting work from Diane Kruger as the cab driver who helps him. She doesn’t get nearly enough work in Hollywood. If only the script had been a little better. Too many times they get help out of nowhere, from a kind-hearted nurse who just happens to know a former East German spy with nothing better to do but take on seemingly insane American hospital patients. It also helps that Diane’s cab driver character is on good terms with a nightclub bouncer, giving them a great hideout when they’re on the run from mysterious agents.
As the twists and turns mount, you think you’re headed to a great pay-off, but the final twist seems too fabricated and unlikely, based on a serious of miraculous incidents (not least of which is why Liam cracked his head in the first place). It should also be noted that January Jones as the wife has a certain woodenness to her performance that has left many forests envious.