A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's message is a downer: You may believe one thing about yourself, but if enough people tell you otherwise, it may not be true. You can't trust anyone, and if you do, your life -- and the lives of your friends -- could be in danger.
Positive Role Models
The movie's hero isn't a particularly good role model in that he's violent and argumentative, acts desperately, and is really rather helpless. He asks for help from others, but he doesn't particularly work well in a team. He tries hard to solve his problem but in a rather destructive way, with few consequences.
Violence & Scariness
Several car chases and crashes, several fistfights, and a little blood. Guns are drawn and fired. A man murders a woman by twisting and snapping her neck. A woman is knocked unconscious, a character is zapped with a Taser, and a character is sliced open with broken glass. There are huge explosions, with fatalities. Characters frequently argue with and confront one another.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The main character and his wife are shown kissing and making love in flashbacks. No nudity, but viewers hear moaning and heavy breathing.
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Language includes infrequent use of "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "hell," "damn," "a--hole," "oh my God," and both "Jesus" and "Christ" used as exclamations.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character gets some sort of knockout drug while in the hospital. The villains have a deadly drug that kills its victim in seconds. One character takes cyanide.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that even though it has one great plot twist, Unknown will disappoint those who liked star Liam Neeson's last thriller, Taken. It has quite a lot of violence, mostly centered around big, brawling fistfights, car chases and crashes, and explosions. Brief flashback scenes show a married couple kissing and making love (no nudity). Language is infrequent (a couple of uses of "s--t" is the worst of it), and while the bad guys use an array of mysterious lethal/knockout drugs, there are no "real" drugs. Overall, the biggest problem is that it's slow and uninvolving, with a downer of a message ("you can't trust anyone") and a main character who isn't particularly sympathetic or admirable. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie is mostly a dud. In Taken, Neeson became an unlikely grown-up action hero, and the movie was a hit. There, he was cunning and crafty and working actively to rescue his daughter. In UNKNOWN (which is based on a 2003 French novel), he's a victim and almost helpless, and the movie fails to recapture the same magic. Director Jaume Collet-Serra spreads the drama out too far and the movie turns sludgy and slow, with the exception of the action scenes, which are choppy and junky, perhaps in an attempt to cover up their lack of logic.
Then comes the movie's big twist -- which is a good one and has the power to explain even the biggest head-scratchers of the first 90 minutes. But it doesn't help with the movie's pacing, lack of character depth and emotional involvement, and over reliance on silly, implausible fights and chases. Old-time character actors Ganz and Frank Langella provide a few brief moments of pleasure here and there, but otherwise, it's forgettable.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.