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Scarlett Alice Johnson,
Eight candidates for a highly desirable corporate job are locked together in an exam room and given a final test with just one question. It seems simple yet confusing that soon, tensions begin to unravel.
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"Unknown" is the type of film that looks brilliant before, during and even shortly after watching it. The names of the actors appearing during the opening credits are fantastic, the basic premise sounds awesome and instantly reminds you of a handful of other cinema classics, there's an almost constant high level of action & mystery and the director maintains a fast pacing and regularly provides new plot twists! This film actually contains all the aspects you hope to see on a big cinema screen, and it isn't until quite a while after finishing "Unknown" before its flaws and shortcomings come to the surface. It sounds rather strange, but by now only a couple days after my viewing I can't even remember that many things about "Unknown" that were really original and/or genuinely impressive. In spite of delivering constant thrills and mystery, the only thing I can think of now is how simplistic the story really is and how the script actually reverts to such easy excuses to explain the oddities. If you're planning on seeing "Unknown", I strongly advise to enjoy the wild ride while it lasts and immediately put your mind to other things when the film is over, because if you contemplate too much about what you saw, there's a large chance your opinion will change as well. The film already often gets compared to "Reservoir Dogs" and it's fairly easy to see why. Five rather sinister men are gathered in a secluded desert hangar and it's more than likely that they're all involved in some kind of criminal affair. Slight problem, though ... they suffer from mass-amnesia following an incident or violent struggle and none of them knows whether he is a good guy or a bad guy. One of them is tied down to a chair, one is handcuffed and slowly dying from a gunshot wound, one guy's nose is broken and the last remaining two men are desperately trying to figure out what connects them. As the day passes by, brief flashback and awkward phone calls reveal that the men are involved in a kidnapping and that they are waiting for other accomplices to return to the hangar. But, which of them are kidnappers and which of them are hostages? And, even more importantly, what caused their temporary loss of memory? The amnesia-aspect of the plot is intriguing at first, but it becomes less plausible and definitely sillier as the film evolves. It's a little too hard to believe that the characters don't remember anything about their unusual situation and when the cause of the amnesia is finally revealed, it only comes across as a mildly acceptable excuse. Thanks to the minimum amount of filming locations, "Unknown" does feature quite a bit of suspense and an occasionally claustrophobic atmosphere. The screenplay suffers from the 'one twist too many' syndrome at the end, like so many wannabe intellectual psychological thrillers nowadays, but the writing skills of newcomer Matthew Waynee are definitely promising and hopeful for the future of the genre. The multi-talented cast provides this film with a bigger status than it actually deserves, but they all play their roles with great devotion. Jeremy Sisto's role ("Six Feet Under", "May", Wrong Turn") is sadly the smallest and it hurts to realize he'll probably always remain underrated. Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper and Jim Caviezel are good in their rather unconventional roles, while Peter Stormare steals the show as the maniacal gangster.
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