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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Support Mental Health or I'll Kill You

Unknown on IMDb

Plot Overview


briefcaseconference speechoverwhelming textRUSHAmerican biochemist Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) stays up all night on the red-eye to Berlin boning up on botany in preparation for a presentation he's going to give at a biotech conference (yawn.) He's to unveil a resilient strain of corn developed to combat world hunger (double yawn.) He's got performance anxiety, but his wife Elizabeth (January Jones) reassures him he'll do just fine as always. He's planning to rest up at the hotel, but he must hurry back to the air­port to retrieve left-behind luggage. Rather than trust to German efficiency to keep track of it, he pressures Gina the taxi driver (Diane Kruger) to circumvent traffic by taking an alternate route through a construction zone. A freak accident requires the medics to resuscitate him with electro­shock, from a bump on the head with drowning. He lands in the hospital in a coma and awakens four days later, a bit groggy and fuzzy in the head, then realizes he's late for the conference and leaves for it right away, against medical advice.

conference party

puzzledHe Harris arrives at the hotel to find a conference party in full swing, talks his way past reception by claiming his wife (“meine frau”) will vouch for him—his ID is still in the missing brief­case—but she claims not to know him (“You must have me confused with some­one else.”) Further­more, she calls over another “husband” Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn) who has the proper credentials. Security takes a dim view of his protests, so he must slink back to the hospital for more analysis.


“Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your teeth. That is an insight from Eastern religion, and the phrasing is Alan Watts's,” this version of it here quoted from Ruth apRoberts's book chapter titled: Waiting for Gödel: Or Hierarchy and the Book of Job (61). “Gödel's theorem can be put forth as follows: [As Bridgman puts it,] ‘it is impossible to prove that a logical system at least as complicated as arithmetic contains no concealed contradictions by using only theorems which are derivable within the system.’ Consequently, ‘To prove that mathematics free from potential contra­dictions one must use principles out­side mathematics’” [6]. In layman's terms as applied to our plot, two plus two equals four, and Harris-B's rendition adds up consistently across the board, but that don't mean squat to Harris-A who knows better.

“It seems to [apRoberts] that the Book of Job must be the locus classicus of the literary form of Gödel's theorem. There is the remark­able structure of the folk­tale frame­work, the meeting of God and Satan in heaven and a sort of cosmic wager on whether man can with­stand adversity, and the classical test case: The best of men faced with the most and worst of calamities. The folk­tale frame­work guarantees our superior, informed position; as we see Job stricken and as we attend to the discourse of Job and the comforters, presenting a sampling of the ways in which men verbalize the problem … we actually know more than the actors” (62–3). In the movie we the audience have seen Harris-A arriving with his wife for the conference; the well-meaning Krauts are oblivious to this as they try to sort out the conflict.

“Eliphaz affirms his faith in God's justice, and—in painful irony—asserts ‘Happy is the man whom God correcteth’ (Job 5:17). Job, and we, know that he is not being ‘corrected.’ … His friends cannot believe that he is innocent—¶“Bildad is a sort of Polonius, full of traditional proverb and platitude. To Bildad's conventional morality, virtue-is-rewarded-and-vice-is-punished. … Zophar is the force of theological establishment: God is omniscient and man is limited: there­fore repent and reform” (apRoberts 63–4). In “Unknown” the wife's lack of recognition is hardest for Harris-A to take. He knows her and she him, one would think. Then there's the paper (and internet) trail that supports Harris-B, not -A. And finally there's the illogic of anyone being capable of perpetrating such a comprehensive ruse—including a “random accident”—if that's what it is. As Harris-A's private eye Ernst Jürgen (Bruno Ganz) points out, “These people may be good, but they are not God. Although a little confirmation would be nice.”

commieturkeyRegarding Job's comforters, “Their positions are more defensible in propositional terms, and yet in the context of the poem we know that Job is—if one may say so—righter. But all arguments are cancelled by the Voice out of the Whirlwind” (apRoberts 65): (Job 38:33) “Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?” The movie picks up like a whirl­wind once Harris emerging from his new sedation is pursued down the hospital corridors by a would-be abductor, stumbles over the body of the kaffir taxi tender who just wanted to send money home to Africa, teams up with Gina the cabbie who'd picked him up—she being a Bosnian illegal fleeing persecution and not very welcome here in Europe,—hires a former East German secret policeman to find things out (“We forgot we were Nazis. Now we have forgotten 40 years of Communism—all gone”), and phones his colleague in the states who berates him as a schlemiel for disturbing his Thanks­giving family celebration to complain about a bump on the head.

Production Values

” (2011) was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. It was written by Oliver Butcher, Stephen Cornwell and Didier Van Cauwelaert. It stars Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger and January Jones. Neeson was in top form. Kruger looked great and delivered a flamboyant performance as the taxi driver turned rescuer. Bruno Ganz is awesome as a world weary German investigator. January Jones playing a wife on the spot gave a right good portrayal of courtesy cum surprise using nuanced facial expression & body language, but her lengthy lines couldn't maintain their affect. Rainer Bock playing Herr Strauss, head of hotel security, had the same weakness (and strength.)

MPAA rated it PG–13 for some intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sexual content. The car crashes shot from inside the vehicle are a very good incentive to buckle up. The cinema­tog­raphy by camera­man Flavio Martinez Labiano was interesting and taken at varied places. It's generally a visual treat. Runtime is 1 hour 53 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

One choice remark turns the audience's attention to God as a transcendent planner whom men can't hold a candle to. Movie magic can make the most outlandish plot seem credible, but we won't have a clue waiting for the end, unless you're a better guesser than I. One thing I did master in college was desperate cramming & the dreaded all-nighter, so I can well relate to this guy. I once suggested to a buddy of mine that we switch places in our schools for the first two weeks of class, but we didn't go through with it; that kind of thing can backfire. Parents and all.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action during the latter half. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Amazing special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Bible quotations are from the King James Version, pub 1611, rev. 1769. Print. Software.

apRoberts, Ruth. The Biblical Web. Copyright © by University of Michigan 1994. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1997. Print.

Bridgman, P.W. The Way Things Are. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1959. As quoted in apRoberts.