Directed by: Simon Brand | 82 minutes | crime, thriller | Actors: James Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Bridget Moynahan, Joe Pantoliano, Barry Pepper, Jeremy Sisto, Peter Stormare, Chris Mulkey, Clayne Crawford, Kevin Chapman, Mark Boone Junior, Wilmer Calderon, David Selby, Adam Rodriguez, Jeffrey Daniel Phillips, Thomas Rosales Jr., Ben Bray, Mel Rodriguez, Paul E. Short, Patricia Belcher, Blair Williamson, Rick Lashbrook, Britt Delano, Adriana Yanez, Victoria Justice, Simon Brand, Amparo Grisales, Peter Mark Vasquez, Lucia Morella
An old factory building, a ringing telephone, ominous music and five unconscious men. One of the men wakes up. He doesn’t know what happened, he has completely lost his memory. When the other four wake up, they also seem to remember nothing. One of them is tied up, another is tied with his hand to a set of shackles and is seriously injured. Everyone panics. The building is closed from the outside and no one can get out. What happened? Who are these men? What are they doing there? Who is holding them there? And above all, what is about to happen? The tone of ‘Unknown’ is immediately set. Meanwhile, there is also something going on outside around a deal between a few well-organized criminals and the police who are on their heels. It is irrevocably linked to the problems of the five men. A tense situation soon begins to develop between them. Which of them can be trusted and who cannot?
A promising start to the debut film by director Simon Brand, who also managed to collect a top cast for this film. James Caviezel (‘The Passion of the Christ’), Greg Kinnear (‘Little Miss Sunshine’), Joe Pantoliano (‘The Matrix’), Barry Pepper (‘Saving Private Ryan’) and Peter Stormare (‘Fargo’) are finally not the least names. Caviezel, Kinnear and Pepper in particular know how to portray the game of mutual dependence and at the same time distrust. The actors convince and everything is skilfully portrayed by the man who also took care of the camera work in the neo-noir ‘Brick’.
Small downside is that the film doesn’t really grab the throat anywhere. It’s all entertaining and exciting, but it doesn’t get really oppressive or scary. It convinces, but up to a point. And that is a shame, because the feeling arises that there could have been more in it. It’s as if Brand just didn’t dare to take that one step further. And that little bit could have turned a good movie into a special movie. However, it should not spoil the fun. ‘Unknown’ is never boring, thanks to the good acting, the pleasant pace and the effective build-up of tension. Brand shows what he has to offer and it creates expectations for the continuation of his career. It is a pity that this film had such a silent release in the Netherlands, because ‘Unknown’ deserved a bit more.