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Psychological thriller about five men with no memory. Five men wake up together in a mysterious warehouse and no recollection of anything at all. All signs point to their having been involved in something illicit - one of them is tied to a chair and there are obvious signs of struggle everywhere. Are the ones who're not tied up captors and the tied ones victims? Nobody can say but it's certain that they need each other to get out of this mess. Intrigue and double-cross unfold as a series of flashbacks and scenes of a worried wife (Bridget Moynahan) waiting for news fill in the details. The fairly hefty ensemble cast includes Joe Pantoliano, Peter Stormare, Greg Kinnear and Jim Caviezel.
This film's intriguing concept puts it in the mould of films such as Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects (BFI Modern Classics) although it is not as good as that 90s classic. Secrets and deception, trust and mistrust, identity and human nature; these ideas are all explored in the movie, and through strong performances from the likes of Jim Caviezel and Joe Pantoliano, the film does so with style and power. At around 80 minutes in duration the film doesn't outstay its welcome either, and is ultimately a solid and entertaining thriller.
I will add a second review of Unknown that clearly stands on the other side of the fence, because I liked the movie very much:
Unknown is an excellent thriller that succeeded in keeping me guessing to the end. It is also very affecting at a gut level. The film opens to find James Caviezel the first of five men to revive from a drugged unconsciousness. He experiences confusion, then shock, and finally pure panic as he comprehends the danger he is in. He is locked inside a filthy factory/meth lab. He sees an unconscious stranger tied to a chair. Another lies face down and bloody with a broken nose, and another is hanging by one handcuffed arm from an upstairs railing, a gunshot wound in his shoulder. He finds two chairs, one broken, with a length of rope that has been severed. His memory is completely gone. He has no idea who he is and it is terrifying. As each man recovers consciousness they fight, blame and quickly realize that two of them are victims and the others are kidnappers -- but who is who? And then there is the sinister phone call and we learn that some really bad guys are returning from some terrible mission. Whether criminal or victim before, these five men agree they now must work together to survive, with "Jean Jacket" (Caviezel) and "Rancher Shirt" (in an admirable performance by Barry Pepper) leading by example.
This film benefited from the great ensemble acting of its five leads who, in addition to Jim Caviezel and Barry Pepper, include Greg Kinnear, Jeremy Sisto and Joe Pantoliano. The extended cast members are also credible and sustain the edge. Bridget Moynahan, the only female with a significant role in this gritty drama, stands out as the wife of one of the victims. We are given so many clues that the next time I watched the DVD my thumb was on the pause button; no mistakes were made -- the film holds on to its secrets. Flashbacks produce more and more of the characters' lives, especially Jean Jacket's (Caviezel), and the ending hits like a punch because of what we have learned about him.
Oh, the two lessons are: "it is what you do from this point on that will define you" (paraphrased from the script); and the idea that you can lose your name, your past and your memories, but for better or for worse, your true character will endure.Read more ›
To start off i'll say that I am a big fan of Jim Caviezel but i will try not let that get in the way of this review.
This film was on my list of films to buy which was recommended to me through amazon and i have heard that it is very similar to films such as Memento and Usual Suspects (which i really enjoyed) and bassically if you use the two main plot devices of those films you would of created the theme of this film Unknown.
The main theme of this film is that they have all lost there memory in a warehouse where obviously something big has happened and soon begin to work out that some of them are kidnappers and some of them hostages which creates a tense atmosphere of conspiracy and friendship.
This is a great film which plays with your mind and you soon get to know the characters straight away through there personality of being locked away in this warehouse, one character you'll begin to hate but also laugh at a few times is the man who is bound up in his chair (Didnt have a name) he is obviously one of those characters that you usually have to have that doesnt mix well with the group and causes many more problems in a tough situation.
Jim Caviezel's character is the lead in this film and does a great job at playing a man who does not know who he is, but slowly builds up his memory towards the end, giving us memorys on who his character is, (is he good or bad?). His character has a rough start with the other characters in the film as he is the one pursued by the others as the lier but soon all group together to try and escape the warehouse.
The greatest scene in this film i would have to say would be a part where they have all set up a plan to surprise a set of people coming to the warehouse to get rid of them and 5minutes before they just whistle a tune all together, and even though some of them might be the kidnappers and some of them are the hostages which they havnt figured out who yet, you can just see with a fresh start all of them begin to get along.
There are many great scenes within this film, just that one added to the character progression of every character within the film and was just fun to watch.
The only character in the film i found a bit Unknown was the character played by Greg Kinnear who is bassically known as Broken nose on Imdb. His character mixed well with the group and added to the confusion of the who are you discussions, Greg Kinnear is another great actor in this film as i have previously seen him in another film aswell which was little miss sunshine.
Last but not least is Barry Pepper another great actor to add to this film, who mixes very well with the 2 others Jim and Greg. His character is basically the man in the middle doesn't really know what side to be on and doesn't know what side he is even acutally on. He's the type of character that makes sure your thinking straight and tries to talk to everyone to get to know them and there personality for of which mixes very well with Jim caviezel as they both obviously work well together on screen and I would honestly like to see them both in another film together.
The ending is a great twist for all the characters and if like me will keep you entertained throughout the film and will keep you trying to guess who the characters are.. Are they good or bad?
Theres also a big twist at the very end of the film, which some have argued was not needed as the rest of the film was perfect and having that ending mixed it up a bit but to me i felt that the final twist was a decent add in but would of liked to of seen it better shown other than a 60second glimpse of what this character is actually like.
Another great actor who had a small role was Peter Stormare who has been in many amazing films mostly played as a russion or mafia type character usually as the bad guy like in this film.
This film is only 82minutes and like the film Phonebooth which is also short, creates a great and enjoyable story and i recommend everyone to watch unknown. If you like films which grip you to the characters and take you along for the ride and if you like a good few surprising twists you will love this film as i did!!Read more ›
This film is a cross between Saw and Resevoir dogs. Keeps you guessing till the end. Not a bad little plot but Jim Caviezel is better in Transit (& hotter) & not being funny when Greg Kinnear showed up I kept getting flashbacks of him in "As good as it gets" :D