I'll admit I avoided seeing Unknown when it hit theaters. It looked like Taken: Take 2 ("This time they're coming after his identity" says an imaginary cheesy voiceover) and I wanted no part of a redux of the same action. But (and this a pretty big but) I now know that I was all kinds of wrong and that I clearly need to have more faith in Liam Neeson's knack for badassery.
Now Unknown isn't exactly a revelation. You won't force your future sons to watch it before they can truly call themselves men. It's not a mind-blowing awe-garnering action thriller -- it's just a solid movie with a decent mystery a kickass lead and some pretty fantastic chase scenes. But really isn't that exactly what you need from a movie like this? (Let me answer that for you: Yes that's all you need.) So now that the film is on Blu-ray those of you who missed out the first time can see the film in brilliant 1080p high definition and get at least a bit of that theater magic (assuming you aren't watching it on some dinky 13-inch television). The film is set in Berlin which is food for any lens and the city provides that textbook European glam and mystery to the flick.
Of course the cast is pretty solid as well. Though January Jones can't seem to play anyone other than Betty Draper it works in this context and everyone else is pretty perfectly cast as well. Diane Kruger keeps up with Neeson throughout the action -- her accent isn't perfect but it can sneak by. Of course the entire thing rests on the star; without Neeson this would be a strange little mystery in Berlin but his insurmountable dauntless demeanor gives the flick some real teeth.
The special features however are lacking any real bite. We get two -- yep one plus one -- features and that's it. One is just about how awesome Liam Neeson is; we listen to the cast and crew gush over his abilities for 10 minutes while thinking "Yeah we know. That's why we saw the movie." The other is simply a behind-the-scenes video about the making of the movie and the rest of the cast. They're really only worth it if you just can't get enough Neeson or you like seeing Frank Langella sit on a comfy couch and wax poetic about action/mysteries.
Essentially the real reason to pick up your own copy is if you're a fan of Liam Neeson European car chases January Jones in low-cut backless dresses mysteries and destruction in high definition. It's a good time.
Unknown is on DVD Blu-ray and Digital Copy as of June 21.
The Inglorious Basterds star wed Canet when she was 25, but the couple split five years later and its divorce was finalised in 2006.
She moved on and began dating former Dawson's Creek star Joshua Jackson shortly afterwards, but she admits she doesn't see a wedding in their future - because she doesn't have faith in the exchanging of vows.
Kruger tells America's Glamour magazine, "Without sounding pessimistic, I learned that I don't believe in marriage. I believe in commitment that you make in your heart. There's no paper that will make you stay."
The Tourist is about as difficult to get through as spotting the vowels in the name of its director. Florian Henckel von Donnersmark was last seen receiving a Best Foreign Film Oscar in 2007 for The Lives of Others which was about a couple living in East Berlin who were being monitored by the police of the German Democratic Republic. Its positive reception made way for the assumption that Donnersmark would continue to populate the USA with films of seemingly otherworldly and underrepresented themes. But his current project is saddening in its superficiality and total implausibility.
The film’s only real upside is its stars: two of our most prized Americans. Johnny Depp plays Frank Tupelo a math teacher from Wisconsin who travels to Europe after his wife leaves him presumably because of his weakness and simplicity. While en route to Venice he meets Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie) who situates herself in his company after she receives a letter from her criminal lover Alexander Pearce (who stole some billions from a very wealthy Russian and the British government) with instructions to find someone on a train who looks like him and make the police believe that he is the real Alexander Pearce to throw the authorities and the Russians off his track. Elise picks Frank and after they are photographed kissing each other on the balcony of Elise’s hotel everyone begins to believe Frank is the real Pearce and so begins the chase.
While Donnersmark could not have picked two better looking people to film roaming around Venice his lack of faith in the audience is obvious. Every aspect of the characters is hammed up again and again as if Donnersmark felt burdened with the task of making us see his vision. Doubtful that we’re capable of getting to where he wants us he has crafted a movie completely devoid of subtlety. Elise’s strength and superiority over Frank are portrayed by close-ups and repeated instances of men burping up their lungs upon seeing her (as if her beauty is in any way subjective?). And in case we forgot that Frank is the victim in this story -- even though he’s been tricked chased and shot at - Donnersmark still felt the need to pin him with a lame electronic cigarette to puff on. Frank and Elise somehow manage to lack mystery even though we get very few factual details about each of them.
Nothing extraordinary comes to us in the way of the film’s structural elements either. There is very little of the action that The Tourist’s marketing led us to believe and the dialog is often painful. The plot itself is almost shockingly unbelievable especially when we’re asked to believe that Elise falls in love with Frank after a combination of kissing him once and her disclosed habit of swooning over men she only spent an hour with (yes that was on her CV).
The Tourist is rather empty and cosmetic. It’s worth seeing if you’re a superfan of Jolie or Depp but don’t expect to walk out of the theater with anything more than the stub you came in with.