I usually rely on the opinions of exquisite movie critics like Robert Ebert or James Berardinelli and it seldom or almost never happens to be in disagreement with one, not to speak both of them. Luckily I usually read critics opinions after seeing the film and so I did in this case as well, because I may have chosen to skip one of the most intelligent and well written action films I have seen lately. The story is not only well written and the pace of the action kept me on my edge for the whole duration of the film, but it also has logic and is credible, so I dare say that the two great critics got it wrong when they gave the two stars out of four treatment to the film.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1401152/

 

The first sequences of the film introduce the viewers in the American-Has-Trouble-In-European-Big-City genre, with Berlin playing the role usually assumed by Paris. The hero is a biotechnology expert which in the first few minutes of the film loses his suitcase, his wife, and his identity. The losing of the identity is soon to be turned into the kind of situation where not only the hero starts to doubt his own self, but also the viewers start doubting what they have seen, or searching for the hidden signification. Another man has taken his identity, his wife seems to have become part of the plot or maybe she is forced to be one, a lot of people try to kill him, and whoever helps him is in mortal danger and does not survive much time on the screen. All this happens in a frozen Berlin in winter, and is filmed with a blueish filter that creates a metallic light atmosphere that just increases the anxiety. Acting is exact, Liam Neeson will not get another Oscar nomination for this role but he succeeds to make us care for him and so does Diane Kruger in the role of the woman who helps him, to find her life blown-up together with her flat in the action.

 

(video source movieclips)

 

This is the fourth film of director Jaume Collet-Serra, whose first film, a piece of horror name House of Wax I also enjoyed. He proves here that he understands the rules of the genre and can make well-paced and efficient movies. The quality of the film comes however first of all from the quality of the script – Unknown is simply brilliantly written, the terrorism and Cold War sequels intrigue reminding Le Carre’s novels provides a logical explanation which put for me every event in place in a story of lost memory and identity that could belong to the Bourne series. My preferred critics were wrong this time.

 

About Roger Ebert’s extraordinary fight with cancer you can read here.