EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|UNKNOWN (director: Jaume Collet-Serra; screenwriters: Oliver Butcher/Stephen Cornwell/from the novel "Out of My Head" by Didier Van Cauwelaert; cinematographer: Flavio Labiano; editor: Tim Alverson; music: John Ottman/Alexander Rudd; cast: (Dr. Martin Harris), Diane Kruger (Gina), (Elizabeth Harris), (Martin B), (Ernst Jürgen), (Rodney Cole), (Professor Bressler); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Leonard Goldberg/Andrew Rona/Joel Silver; Warner Bros. Pictures; 2011)|
all the storyline
conveniences kick in, this amnesia story becomes forgettable,
implausible, regrettable and indigestible."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Spanish filmmaker Jaume
of Wax") directs this absurd thriller about identity theft that gets
more ridiculous as it offers a preposterous new twist at every turn.
But at least it's entertaining at times (sort of like getting off on
junk food, without ever mistaken it for health food) and moves at an
appealingly fast pace. The 59-year-old some smarts and a sympathetic character you
want to believe in, though you may wonder what he's doing in this kind
of crap and if the senior citizen can really pack a wallop in his
punch. Also the always reliable Bruno Ganz and Frank he
screenplay by Oliver Butcher and Stephen
Cornwell is based on the 2003 French novel "Out of My Head" by Didier
Van Cauwelaert, as the writers eschew character development, logic, and
plot coherency in favor of pushing to get in every blockbuster thriller
scenario it can manage: from a number of well-choreographed car chases
and a plot line Macguffin.
The American biotech research
scientist, Dr. Martin Harris (), is in Berlin with his beautiful wife Liz
for an important international Biotech summit. The keynote speaker, Dr.
promises a breakthrough in food biotech to help feed the world's
hungry. Before checking in to
the Hotel Adlon, Martin grabs a taxi back to the airport without
telling his wife, as he goes to retrieve a missing briefcase he left on
a baggage trolley that has his passport and other important documents.
On the snowy day in November, his taxi gets into an accident and winds
up in the river. Martin winds up in the hospital and is in a coma for
four days until he awakens with some memory loss. When he goes to meet
his wife at the hotel, she doesn't recognize him and is with another
man (Aidan Quinn) who has assumed his identity. The authorities don't
believe Martin, and he has no papers to back up his story. The
flustered Martin tries to contact his boss Rodney Cole () back
in New Hampshire to confirm his identity, but can't make contact. The
nurse who treated him at the hospital suggests he hire an expert
detective in locating missing persons, Ernst Jürgen (a
former Stasi officer, who decides to help the troubled Martin because
he believes him and is curious about where it will lead. Martin then
makes contact with the courageous lady taxi driver, Gina (Diane Kruger, a German actress), who saved his life from drowning and
then ran away from the scene because she's an illegal Bosnian
immigrant. From here on there are vicious hit men after them both and
they have to go on the run while trying to figure out why someone would
want to take his place, as the pic hits the asphalt and never stops
from skidding out-of-control as far as its credibility.
After all the storyline conveniences kick in, this amnesia story becomes forgettable, implausible, regrettable and indigestible. But it does take you for awhile (maybe some 80 minutes) on a thrilling Hitchcock 'wrong man' ride, it just fails to reach a Hitchcock-like sophistication in its storytelling and to offer more than a gimmicky story. Too bad, because this young director shows some ability as a craftsman, knows how to hold the viewers' interest in his storytelling and knows how to shoot action scenes the public is drawn to--he should just stop mucking about with terrible twists and third acts.
REVIEWED ON 2/19/2011 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ