The camera pans around an apparently deserted warehouse; suddenly a man (Caviezel) sits up into shot, gasping and looking like death. His horrified gaze takes in the scene: two unconscious men on the floor (Pepper, Kinnear), another tied up on a chair (Pantoliano), another (Sisto), shot in the chest, hanging from a handcuff from the banisters. He tries to leave the building, but the electronic security won’t let him out. And then the others start waking up, one by one. Mysteriously, the men realise that they have no memory of what happened; not just how they got to the warehouse, but no memory at all, of anything, including who they are.
This presents an interesting dilemma. It becomes clear that two of them are recent victims of a kidnapping, but which two? Who is on the side of the angels? In the absence of proof of identity, the men decide to cooperate in the hope of escaping before the kidnappers return. In the meantime, Coles’ wife (Moynaghan) is working with the police to ransom her husband, but the drop goes wrong, and the kidnappers get away with the money.
Unknown is a fairly average thriller given a clever twist by the loss of identity subplot(which, fact fans, is explained in a reasonably plausible fashion) and the classy cast who all turn in good performances. The men are initially paranoid and suspicious, with a tendency towards violence born of frustration, but finally realise that their best chance of survival is each other, and their best (or perhaps most selfish) instincts prevail. Their memories are gradually coming back as the story progresses, but in blurry fits and starts, so the audience pieces the story together in real time as the characters are given bits of the jigsaw.
It unravels a bit in the third act with the addition of an extra subplot, but is enjoyable enough entertainment for a Friday night. Jim Caviezel still has amazing eyes; Greg Kinnear is solid as ever, Barry Pepper is a bit twitchy and weird, Joe Pantoliano angry and sarcastic, Bridget Moynahan suitably nervy and tearful (and painfully thin, though nice touch with the Christian Louboutins in her first scene). Peter Stormare reprises his mean criminal from Prison Break.
Unknown is not exactly cutting edge, but still has enough twists and turns to keep you occupied.
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