johnlink ranks UNKNOWN (2006)

As I sit on the couch holding Quinn, I often browse through the Cox guide and see what is playing that week on the HBO Hi-Def channels as well as IFCHD and TCM. I’ll DVR about seven or eight movies a week, of which I may watch two or three. UNKNOWN came across HBO. It’s a film I had never heard of. But the cast and description caught me, so I thought I would give it a go.

I watched UNKNOWN (2006) on 11.10.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

So what was the description?

Five men wake up in a locked-down warehouse with no memory of who they are. They are forced to figure out who is good and who is bad to stay alive.

And the cast?

Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Jesus, Bridget Moynahan, Joey Pants, The Russian Cosmonaut from Armageddon, Jeremy Sisto, and The Corrupt Cop from Batman Begins.

With that cast, that description, and the fact that I had never heard of it, I was a bit worried. I started it in the morning thinking I might just shut it off and abandon it after the first fifteen minutes.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. This film probably was not greatly received because it falls into the eye-rolling Amnesia genre. But it does what it does well. Decent performances from a solid enough script, with enough suspense and confusion to go around.

The amnesia comes from a chemical which was accidentally released in a room. All the characters know the effect will be short lived. They know some are good, and some are bad. They know there has been a fight and someone has been shot. They just have to work together to try and get out of the locked warehouse while trying to figure out who to trust.

It certainly stretches the imagination multiple times. But it believes in itself enough that we can shrug most of these moments off. The filmmakers wanted us to see five violent guys in a room together, and it gave it to us. Details sometimes be damned.

This film ultimately suffers from One-Too-Many-Twists syndrome. The ending could have been solid, but it betrays itself. Also, the flashback scenes are in third person. So when characters are conveniently hidden we have no choice but to realize the director (Simon Brand) is manipulating us without reservation or subtlety. There is also an entire subplot happening outside of the warehouse which is not as entertaining, and ultimately becomes this movie’s failing.

Someone mentioned to me that it looked like it was a derivative of SAW. They take a couple of cues from that film (the warehouse look specifically), but it certainly isn’t torture porn, or even a horror or slasher flick. It’s a different animal entirely.

But is it worth seeing? Sure it is. Good enough mystery/suspense flick, decent performances, and good enough to want to give a go. I just wish it ended a minute and a half earlier.


FILM: 4; MOVIE: 7; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 6 (What is this?)



~ by johnlink00 on November 10, 2010.

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