Unknown 2011

Critics score:
56 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Tom Long, Detroit News: Unknown" obviously knows its limitations, and it doesn't bother to rise above them. It just keeps throwing the punches the audience wants and expects. It won't cure world hunger, but chances are it will sell a lot of popcorn. Read more

Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies: Turn off your 'I hope this plot twist is awesome' part of your brain and just enjoy big, gruff, increasingly Frankenstein-monster-looking Neeson kicking the crap out of everyone who gets in his way... Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: Despite its A-movie aspirations, as the chases continue and the plot holes widen, Unknown quickly settles into the familiar B-movie comfort zone. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: Neeson's always-intelligent screen presence, his nuance and gravitas, help elevate Unknown beyond its preposterous elements. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: We're spun through parking garages, dance clubs and good old-fashioned car chases; Unknown is probably the movie The Tourist wanted to be, if it had a pulse. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: It mixes and mismatches jagged fragments of Jason Bourne, Alfred Hitchcock, "Total Recall" and Mel Gibson's underappreciated "Conspiracy Theory," although underappreciation isn't a risk for a movie that amounts to "The Stillbourne Identity." Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: The car chases and piled-on action eventually feel rote, as do Neeson's various badass stunts. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: Tacked onto a perfectly respectable thriller, Unknown's mass of unlikely turns and implausible reveals make the whole film seem retroactively less sophisticated. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: There are a couple of intriguing ideas floating around here and there, but that's all they do -- float around, unmoored by any sense of reality and, thus, suspense. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: I saw "Unknown'' with an entourage whose average age was about 70. They loved it, although one of them kept calling it "The Bond Ultimatum.'' Which sounds about right. Read more

Amy Nicholson, Boxoffice Magazine: Ich bin bash Berliner. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Reader: The snow and haze that Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra keeps pumping into the street scenes seem to have drifted into the script as well. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: More subtly than Harrison Ford, Neeson excels at the slow fuse snaking its way to explosive revenge. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: The cat-and-mouse game that the filmmakers are playing with us is only partially successful because this thriller is only intermittently thrilling. Instead of being captivated by the twist and turns, we're more likely to be rankled. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: The movie whips up a big old puree of ingredients borrowed from other cinematic recipes. Then it dishes out the mildly spiced results as post-Oscar-quality snack food... Read more

Eric D. Snider, Film.com: Neeson is always magnetic, though, even when he's just repeating his Taken performance and delivering cheesy one-liners, as he is eventually required to do here. Read more

William Goss, Film.com: May eventually surrender to convention and implausibility in equal measure, but until then, Collet-Serra grounds the conspiracy with a proper sense of mystery and mood. Read more

Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter: Liam Neeson stars in a paranoid caper showcasing the city of Berlin. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Consistently albeit genteelly thrilling, a pleasantly implausible item that employs the holy trinity of action elements: explosions, hand-to-hand combat and car chases where tires squeal like there is no tomorrow. Read more

Connie Ogle, Miami Herald: Unknown has its moments, but ultimately it's as forgettable as Martin's identity. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: For about an hour or so, "Unknown" is intriguing. Read more

Anthony Venutolo, Newark Star-Ledger: It's not "North by Northwest," of course. But at least it's heading in the right direction. Read more

Jeannette Catsoulis, NPR: Neeson's comforting intelligence (and a marvelous turn by Bruno Ganz as an ailing former member of the East German secret police), are not enough to prevent the film from choking on obviousness and directorial fumbling. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Neeson, often chided for cashing easy action-flick paychecks at the expense of his serious-actor cred, knows who he is - an action star of a certain age who brings gravitas to pulpy stuff. And if that's who he is, he could do worse than "Unknown." Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Plot holes you can drive a truck through are ultimately less important for your enjoyment than how they set up the film's big set pieces. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Unknown makes no sense at all, so you not only worry about Liam Neeson's judgment in movies, but you begin to wonder if he's forgotten how to read. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: With his soulful gaze and crooked nose, his seeming reluctance to throw a karate chop but his deft ability to do so, Neeson has an air of melancholy and menace - you feel sorry for the guy, and wary of him at the same time. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: The material keeps our attention but, as we get closer to the inevitable point at which the curtain is pulled back, the movie starts to feel more like a parody than a serious endeavor. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Roeper.com: Has no connection to anything resembling reality, but it's entertaining as hell. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: I felt involved in "Unknown" until it pulled one too many rabbits out of its hat. At some point, a thriller has to play fair. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Ignore the pileup of implausibilities and 'Unknown' becomes a diabolically entertaining con game. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: A stylish and muscular thriller with some nifty twists and turns, a wicked sense of humor, several terrific performances and not one or even two but three of the best car chases in recent action-flick history. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Neeson has a way of getting upset - a frantic purposefulness - that fills viewers with both empathy and anticipation: He's so miserable that we care. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: But if you dig Liam Neeson as an action hero, you could do worse than this fast-paced, cheerfully ridiculous, generally satisfying romp. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Neeson has a fine way with expressions of anguish. This is brow-knitting of a very high order. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: On a minute-to-minute level, it's an engaging mystery, the kind that rewards our participation with eye candy and adrenaline shots. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: The art of the classic Hitchcockian thriller is about style, pace and misdirection -- and though Unknown is occasionally baffling and involves running and car chases, the film rarely manages to thrill. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: The film plays more like a "whydunit" than a whodunit. Read more

Trevor Johnston, Time Out: The movie rather crumbles when it eventually has to deliver its secrets. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: When the dots are connected (sort of), Unknown still doesn't make much sense. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: Beyond the occasional plot frissons and juicy supporting turns, it's an emotionally and psychologically threadbare exercise. Read more

Nick Schager, Village Voice: As with its protagonist, Unknown boasts tantalizing issues buried deep beneath its frantic exterior, but little idea how to unlock or address them. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: As long as filmgoers come to "Unknown" unencumbered by a need for plausibility, this handsome, well-paced production possesses its share of twisty, visceral pleasures. Read more