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Unknown Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Running Time: 113 mins.
  • Discs: 2 ( 1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD/Digital Copy)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 21, 2011
  • List Price: $35.99

[amazon-product]B004A8ZX2I[/amazon-product]

Purchase Unknown on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

The thriller Unknown begins ostensibly with an American scientist, Martin Harris (Liam Neeson), traveling in Germany with his pretty wife. A piece of lost luggage soon leads to a brutal car crash however, leaving Martin alone in a hospital awakening from a brief coma with symptoms of amnesia.

Far from home and with no identification, he’s in a difficult spot. It only gets worse when his own wife doesn’t recognize him… and then she introduces her real husband, also named Martin Harris, only this one has all of the necessary proof.

Try though he might, amnesiac Martin can’t find a shred of compelling evidence to back up his claims, forcing him (and us) to wonder just what the hell is going on here. Who was the mysterious cab driver (German-born Diane Kruger, playing a Bosnian in Berlin, just go with it) who saved his life? What truth can an old-school private eye uncover? And what does all of this have to do with a visiting prince?

We definitely want to stick around for the answers, some of which are indeed unexpected, despite some annoying little instances of “movie logic.” Most egregious: Evil forces are racking up quite a body count and they want Martin dead too, but no one just pops a cap in his ass despite multiple opportunities. Thankfully a couple of interesting twists, particularly toward the end, help to counterbalance the thin patches.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The 2.4:1 Unknown was shot on film and director Jaume Collet-Serra deliberately messes with the colors to unsettling effect: At times, something just doesn’t feel right, underscoring Martin’s paranoia. The image is extremely clean and rife with fine detail, with virtually no noise or streaking and no excessive grain. Blacks can be a little stark in some scenes however, lacking the natural quality of the best film masters.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The aforementioned car crash tips the hand of this strong DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack early in the movie, with jolting bass, involving surrounds and even the convincing trebles of broken glass. Plenty more action lies ahead (an elaborate car chase, multiple explosions) as well as the well-realized depiction of the lively city, a booming dance club, a train station, a working laboratory, even the inside of an MRI tube. There are also clever effects like muffled, oddly placed voices speaking at the barely conscious Martin.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

The Blu-ray offers up only two brief featurettes, each less than five minutes and both in high definition, the first focusing on star Liam Neeson. It’s a bit of a clichéd love-fest frankly, although he probably deserves the praise more than most. The second summarizes the movie we just saw, mixed with a bit of behind-the-scenes fluff. And despite being a few seconds shorter than the other segment, it manages to repeat some of the same soundbites.

In typical, generous Warner fashion, this edition also includes a second disc which provides both a standard-definition DVD version of Unknown and a Digital Copy for iTunes and Windows Media.

Here’s a complete rundown of the extras:

  • “Liam Neeson: Known Action Hero” (4:33)
  • Unknown: What Is Known?” (4:24)
  • DVD of the movie
  • Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

As it did in The Phantom Menace, Neeson’s charm goes a long way to elevate the material here, boosting this mostly-smart, mostly-taut thriller to a genuinely entertaining level. And despite some half-hearted extras, the Blu-ray looks and sounds terrific. This I know for sure.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004A8ZX2I[/amazon-product]

Purchase Unknown on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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