Thursday, 10 March 2011

104: Review - Unknown

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

09 March 2011. Location: Cinema

Plot: Liam Neeson plays Liam Neeson in the kind of film Mel Gibson used to play Mel Gibson in, before he went all mental and racist. Here be furtive glances, fighting and action.

A simple consiracy thriller. Not clichéd, exactly, but it certainly twists and turns in all the places you expect it to. As a result, nothing that happens really surprises you. Luckily, that doesn't matter as the cast are on top form, and the film is beautifully executed. Despite the feeling that you've seen it all before, it's still superbly tense from the moment the film starts. There's just the right level of unease, even before Liam's Martin Harris has his accident which leaves him in a coma for four days. When the film reaches the scene with Harris in the MRI scanner, the tension escalates and doesn't let up until the finalé.

Some gorgeous camerawork, notably when Harris is escaping his pursuer at the hospital, with confusion, concussion, and an unknown-substance creeping into his bloodstream. The main car-chase sequence is pretty spectacular, too; and that's coming from someone who isn't normally bothered with those.

For all that Liam Neeson is becoming pretty typecast in this sort of role, he does an excellent job (well, alright, his accent is typical Neeson-ese) as do the rest of the cast, especially the supporting players. The only fly in the ointment is probably Frank Langella, who overplays his role a little. The guy oozes sinisterness to start with, so he's almost cartoon-like in his role here where everyone else is playing very realistically.

In short: it works very well. You won't lose too much by watching it on DVD, and repeated viewings won't reveal much more, but the first ride is a one worth taking.

A very solid 5/7.

Geek points: Neeson's lines of "...I promise" and "you are free now" flashed me back to his role as Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars. This made me smile.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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