Director: Simon Brand
Jim Caviezel/Jean Jacket
Greg Kinnear/Broken Nose
Barry Pepper/Rancher Shirt
Five duders wake up in an abandoned and locked warehouse with zero memory as to who they are and why they are there. Some are tied up, others are bloodied, and some are cuffed. They are eventually faced with the happy-go-lucky task of figuring out who the good guys and the bad guys are while attempting to find a way out of their glorified jail cell. That spells one thing to me; SWORD FIGHT!
I remember seeing the poster for the crime thriller (not its not a horror movie; found that out when I saw it)
UNKNOWN at the Sitges Film Festival last year. It stuck with me! With a cast that includes the great Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear and Barry Pepper…how can it not? Those dudes rock the whore house! Alas I never made the screening, but promised myself to see it once it hit the big screen. And that never happened either! The film went straight to DVD with little to no “Hetero Pride Parade” around it. What happened?
The film is solely “okay” and it belongs on the shelves, not the big screen, that’s what happened. Now with that gunned your way, I won’t deny that I had some cheap fun with UNKNOWN. The film snagged me in its web right off the bat with its tantalizing SAW-ish initial premise, and then kept me in the game hardcore for at least 35 minutes with its engaging unraveling of events. It sure helped the whole that the flick sported a Grade A cast that just kept rocking. I derived lots of fanboy smiles watching Caviezel, Kinnear, Pepper and cie spar together with all the testosterone/machismo they could muster. Always a treat to witness some solid performers bounce off each other. Jenga on top of that an effortless pace; extremely creative editing choices that added pizzazz to the already “charged up” proceedings and some gnarly early red herrings that carried some potential and you get had an Arrow not wanting off the bench. I was having a vacuous hoot with it all!
Unfortunately, unlike SAW, a film it was clearly inspired by, UNKNOWN never managed to top its first half or bring its shenanigans home with gusto. Although the second half was far from boring, the red herrings were regrettably not capitalized upon and all the flashbacks in the world couldn’t fool me into thinking that this tale wasn’t linear. Result? The “mystery” at hand was in fact an anti-mystery. What I assumed
at the start was exactly what was happening! Kind of defeats the purpose of shrouding one’s narrative in obscurity when the answer is so obvious and the film doesn’t try to fool ya otherwise. Even the plot twists near the end failed to whoop me out my seat in surprise! All they evoked was an
“Oh…okay...so that’s it” type of response. Finally, one plot hole kept ringing in my noggin throughout:
“Nobody carries wallets in this world?” Lots of the conflict could’ve been solved if the amnesic dudes would've whipped out their driver’s licenses. I mean everybody I know carries ID on them
and since they were not “taken” from them, the issue should’ve been addressed as ignoring it didn’t make it go away.
All in all, UNKNOWN was a decent watch, with awesome actors and a story that
started off strong and gradually lost steam as the clock ticked forward.
Definitely an easy and harmless way to waste an hour and half. Will you get to know Unknown? Your call buds! I just work here!
Do bullet wounds count as gore? Not to me! Just part of the day…no?
I always dug Jim Caviezel (Jean Jacket). I groove to his subdued yet strong presence and when you slap some stubble on the guy; he looks badass. Unknown had Caviezel WITH stubble, hence I was SOLD! I never thought much of Greg Kinnear (Broken Nose) but the more of his movies I see; the more I recognize the man’s range and talent. Unknown was no exception. Barry Pepper (Rancher Shirt) gave out an intense and likeable show. NICE! Bridget Moynahan (Eliza) looked swanky and made up for her awful stint in I Robot acting wise. Joe Pantoliano (Bound Man) was Joe Pantoliano… again... GREAT ROLE! Jeremy Sisto (Handcuffed Man) and Peter Stormare (Snakeskin Boots) did what they had to do with class and talent.
T & A
The ladies get Caviezel looking pretty in a wife-beater and some swift shirtless stuff. We get teased by Bridget Moynahan showing “something” yet nothing. Tease. TEASE I SAID!
Armed with a could be coked up editor, Simon Brand delivered a visually stimulating, randomly stylish and mucho tight little thriller. The editing tricks slapped my way kept bringing a smile to my face. Good stuff!
Straight up, I won’t lie, I don’t remember. Must have been decent since the word “shitty” does not come to mind when looking back.
UNKNOWN had all of its bases covered except for "home base"! A compelling start, taunt directing/editing and a top notch cast that worked wonders together. All that was missing was a script that went further, took more sharp turns and wasn’t so damn see-through. Definitely watchable but nothing that will blow you away like Jenna Jameson would blow you away…with her two sets of lips... or is it three... I lose count...
The film was shot in California, USA.
James Patrick Caviezel was born on September 26, 1968 in Mount Vernon, Washington. He was one of five children within a very Catholic family. He of course went on to play Christ in Mel "Sugartits" Gibson's The Passion of Christ.