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Greg Kinnear in Unknown

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Making Of Documentary (45-Minutes).

FIVE men wake up battered and bruised in an abandoned warehouse suffering from temporary amnesia caused by a gas spill.

As they struggle to work out who they are and how they got there it quickly becomes apparent that there are two sides involved – but who’s good and who’s bad?

From its intriguing premise and strong cast (the five men are comprised of Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Joe Pantoliano, Barry Pepper and Jeremy Sisto) Unknown should be a cracking little potboiler.

But debut director Simon Brand tries to broaden the scope of the movie to wasteful effect, incorporating a femme fatale, a Mob boss and the chasing police, and subsequenty misses out on creating an instant indie classic.

Unknown remains enjoyable viewing but there’s a sustained sense that it could have been a great deal better.

When in the company of the five men, it’s taut, well-acted and certainly keeps you guessing.

Kinnear, in particular, stands out in a more aggressive role than normal while Pepper is typically strong and silent. To reveal too much more about their characters would be giving the game away.

But once things move away to the outside world, Unknown loses its grip because there are simply too many characters and not enough people worth caring about.

Peter Stormare delivers another of his oddball gangster-type roles, while Bridget Moynahan runs around delivering ransom money and liaising with the cops without ever really providing any essence to her character.

There’s simply too much going on and not much that’s very interesting.

Brand also disappoints with some of the final revelations as characters have the habit of recovering their memory within minutes of each other – thereby straining credibility. It’s when he shows his inexperience as a director.

But given the film’s short running time (just under 90mins) and the fact that it does keep you guessing, there’s still plenty to keep fans of this kind of genre hooked.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 85mins