Unknown DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

This film has a strongly layered cast.
  • OVERALL
    3.0
    WORTHY
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
This film has a strongly layered cast.
THE BAD
Certain aspects of this movie felt too familiar and unoriginal.
THE FEATURE
In Unknown, 5 strangers wake up in a warehouse with no clue as to who they are and how they got in this room. We then see their lives in a Memento like way, as the characters have their stories shown to us in reverse. As this movie presses on we are given clues about who every in the room is, why they are there and how they in fact relate to one another. There is almost a blissful redundancy to the confusion that these characters are eliciting, and the audience is put in a position of being one step ahead of them the entire way... or are we?

Eventually, this movie reaches a conclusion but Unknown doesn't resolve itself in a way that we might expect. Director Simon Brand seems quite content on leaving things a little vague, which is why owning this movie on DVD is a good thing so you can go back and see what you may have missed.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted and Extended Scenes

I enjoyed seeing these because I think they further illuminated this film, yet Simon Brand and the others behind this movie really took a leap of faith with the audience. While I don't want to go into specifics, there are scenes here that I think illuminated the characters but ultimately were better left out of the film. However, watching them here in separate entities really gives them a whole new look and mystique.
THE VIDEO
Widescreen Version presented in a "Letterbox" widescreen format preserving the "scope" aspect ratio of it's original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs. As director Simon Brand is a music video director, I wasn't surprised that this film had shades of that, as well as harsh color tones. I think the best way to describe the look of this movie would be unique. Brand seems to have a very sure hand, both with the camera and editing. He has managed to take a film that could have felt claustrophobic, and opened it up in such a way so that it works to the movie's advantage.
THE AUDIO
Language: English 5.1. Subtitled in English and Spanish. This movie sounded good. Simon Brand seems to be very choosy about where he lays in certain elements of the soundtrack. As a result of this the movie seems to move in stages, which actually ends up benefitting the plot as we are introduced to each and every character differently.
THE PACKAGE
An artfully done front cover just gives us peoples bodies in a bluish black and white from the waist down. This film also isn't shy about showcasing it's heavily star populated cast. The back cover offers up some shots from the movie (every image has that bluish gray look), a small description, a Special Features listing, a cast list and technical specs. There isn't anything that special about this packaging, but it is done in such a way that it should get certain viewers attention.
THE FINAL WORD
All in all, despite some plot conventions that heavily bordered on the pedestrian, I think that Unknown was a interesting film. While I can't say that it was the best film I have ever seen like this within it's genre, I will say that this movie worked because the cast made up of people like Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Joe Pantoliano and others all give very interesting and credible performances. Also, any movie that begins under the cloud of mystery that this one seems to inhabit almost seems like it has a built in interest factor already.

If you're in the video store and you want to take a chance, Unknown will certainly whet your appetite for intrigue.

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