Dr Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) and wife Elizabeth (January Jones) arrive in Berlin for an important biotechnology conference. When they get to their hotel Harris realises he has left a briefcase at the airport. He gets into another taxi back to airport but there is an accident and the taxi goes off a bridge into the river. The driver Gina (Diane Kruger) rescues the unconscious Harris and he wakes from a coma four days later in a hospital.
He heads to the hotel where he and his wife were supposed to be staying, the same hotel where the biotechnology summit is taking place. He is wondering why his wife hasn’t been looking for him. When he gets there he finds it difficult to get past security without ID until he see his wife. The security man takes him to see her and verify his story but she denies knowing him and she indicates a totally different man is her husband Dr Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn). He escapes being jailed by claiming he must still be confused after his coma and showing them a card from his doctor.
Harris starts to doubt his sanity so starts searching for help figuring out what is going on. First he looks for Gina, the taxi driver, who saved him but when he finds her she is afraid to say anything to the authorities because she is an illegal immigrant from Bosnia. Next he heads to the University where Dr Bressler (Sebastian Koch) works. This is the scientist who is holding the biotechnology conference, funded by a controversial progressive Middle-Eastern Prince Shada. Everywhere that Bressler goes he brings his two creepy twin teenage daughters with him. It turns out that Harris 2.0 is already there with Bressler. Harris tries to prove he is the genuine one by recounting memories of his talks with Bressler but Harris 2.0 manages to recall the same memories word for word simultaneously. Harris now believes that he is mad and may not be the genuine Martin Harris.
This all leads right to a big twisty revelation at the end that I had better keep quiet about but when I saw the twist it made me totally recall an older film. Even mentioning that other film would be such a spoiler. It all involves car chases, Bruno Ganz as an old Stasi agent working as a private investigator, assassins called Smith and Jones, Frank Langella, that briefcase Harris left at the airport and Gina the pretty taxi driver. Just to remind us we’re in Germany we had big foaming barrels of beer all over one of the car chases. I thought it was all fairly implausible but it is still good entertainment. The action moves fast enough to avoid asking too many questions such as, did that passport really claim Harris was born in 1964?
- DVD Review: UNKNOWN (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- Mark Kermode’s DVD round-up (guardian.co.uk)