Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 38
  2. Negative: 3 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Feb 17, 2011
    90
    A stylish and muscular thriller with some nifty twists and turns, a wicked sense of humor, several terrific performances and not one or even two but three of the best car chases in recent action-flick history.
  2. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Feb 19, 2011
    75
    It works as designed.
  3. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Feb 18, 2011
    75
    Unknown actually has enough of a sense of humor to admit what it is: hybrid corn. But it's been crossbred from Hitchcockian stock.
  4. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 17, 2011
    75
    Neeson has a way of getting upset - a frantic purposefulness - that fills viewers with both empathy and anticipation: He's so miserable that we care.
  5. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Feb 17, 2011
    75
    The weakest link in Unknown - okay, other than the utter preposterousness of its entire premise - is Jones, who as a modern-day version of Hitch's ice queens can't hold her own with the likes of Kim Novak, Grace Kelly and Eva Marie Saint.
  6. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 17, 2011
    75
    It's all very Hitchcockian, at least for a while. And clever and exciting, too, even if the convergences begin to strain credulity, and, when you think about it, defy logic, too.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Feb 17, 2011
    75
    Sleek and, until a stupidly violent climax, very entertaining, Unknown is the opposite of "Memento."
  8. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Feb 16, 2011
    75
    Unknown is finely tuned pulp filmmaking, a dumb movie with a smart veneer, which is nothing to sneeze at.
  9. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Feb 18, 2011
    70
    Though cinematographer Flavio Labiano turns the city into an alien maze of steel and glass, his chilling work is undercut by a script with more logical craters than Martin's.
  10. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Feb 17, 2011
    70
    You could do worse than this fast-paced, cheerfully ridiculous, generally satisfying romp.
  11. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Feb 17, 2011
    70
    Despite its A-movie aspirations, as the chases continue and the plot holes widen, Unknown quickly settles into the familiar B-movie comfort zone.
  12. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Feb 17, 2011
    70
    A nifty international thriller of the "what if?" variety.
  13. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Feb 16, 2011
    70
    Jones delivers her line readings so robotically that even her truths sound like lies. She's got the look of a Hitchcock blonde, and the movements of a deer in the headlights. Even her kisses look fake.
  14. Reviewed by: Jordan Mintzer
    Feb 16, 2011
    70
    Director Jaume Collet-Serra provides a steady flow of suspense and a very Polanski-esque feeling of paranoia.
  15. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Feb 18, 2011
    63
    On a minute-to-minute level, it's an engaging mystery, the kind that rewards our participation with eye candy and adrenaline shots. But when we pull back for an overview, we see that it's flat and that pieces are missing.
  16. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Feb 17, 2011
    63
    Neeson is much better suited to the loneliness and self-doubt of Martin's crisis than he was for the thuggery of the previous movie.
  17. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Feb 16, 2011
    63
    Unknown is never boring, and Collet-Serra mostly keeps up a lively pace, but he doesn't do the movie any favors with the flat, dull way he films the scene in which we finally learn what's going on.
  18. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Feb 21, 2011
    60
    It is the rare conspiracy thriller that ripens as the villains' organization and motives are gradually revealed.
  19. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Feb 17, 2011
    60
    Twisty, engaging thriller.
  20. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Feb 15, 2011
    60
    Unknown is probably the movie "The Tourist" wanted to be, if it had a pulse. Its sheer momentum makes Neeson and Kruger more attractive than even Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 18, 2011
    58
    Framed as a cautionary thriller about the perils of high-stakes terrorism, but I took away a different message from it: Don't forget your briefcase at the airport.
  22. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Feb 16, 2011
    58
    The movie whips up a big old puree of ingredients borrowed from other cinematic recipes.
  23. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Feb 28, 2011
    50
    Not even Neeson, with his strength and his wounded-giant vulnerability, can prevent our interest in Unknown from sliding into contempt.
  24. Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Feb 19, 2011
    50
    The snow and haze that Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan) keeps pumping into the street scenes seem to have drifted into the script as well.
  25. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Feb 17, 2011
    50
    The art of the classic Hitchcockian thriller is about style, pace and misdirection – and though Unknown is occasionally baffling and involves running and car chases, the film rarely manages to thrill.
  26. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Feb 17, 2011
    50
    ignore the pileup of implausibilities and Unknown becomes a diabolically entertaining con game. Does it jerk you around? Yes. Suck it up. The ride's worth it.
  27. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Feb 17, 2011
    50
    Yes, Unknown is preposterous. That in and of itself is not a reason to avoid the movie. The problems lie in the way the absurdity is presented and the manner in which the screenplay resolves once the "truth" is revealed.
  28. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Feb 17, 2011
    50
    Tacked onto a perfectly respectable thriller, Unknown's mass of unlikely turns and implausible reveals make the whole film seem retroactively less sophisticated.
  29. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Feb 16, 2011
    50
    I confess I felt involved in Unknown until it pulled one too many rabbits out of its hat. At some point, a thriller has to play fair.
  30. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Feb 16, 2011
    50
    It's a solid, engrossing thriller, but a slack one.
  31. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Feb 16, 2011
    50
    Beyond the occasional plot frissons and juicy supporting turns, it's an emotionally and psychologically threadbare exercise.
  32. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Feb 15, 2011
    50
    As with its protagonist, Unknown boasts tantalizing issues buried deep beneath its frantic exterior, but little idea how to unlock or address them.
  33. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Feb 24, 2011
    40
    This is no more (but no less?) than what we have rather oddly come to expect from Neeson in his late period (Taken, The A-Team).
  34. Reviewed by: Elvis Mitchell
    Feb 17, 2011
    40
    That's eventually what Unknown is - violent, impersonal and comforting.
  35. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Feb 16, 2011
    40
    There are a couple of intriguing ideas floating around here and there, but that's all they do - float around, unmoored by any sense of reality and, thus, suspense.
  36. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Feb 17, 2011
    38
    Trying to decipher all the convoluted pathways could drive you mad. Mostly, though, it is so ludicrous that it will unintentionally inspire laughter.
  37. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Feb 17, 2011
    30
    All of the nonsense piled on nonsense does provide some measure of pleasure. Unknown gets better by getting worse.
  38. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Feb 15, 2011
    25
    Unknown makes no sense at all, so you not only worry about Liam Neeson's judgment in movies, but you begin to wonder if he's forgotten how to read.
User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 232 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 77
  2. Negative: 13 out of 77
  1. Feb 19, 2011
    10
    I do not expect this movie to win any awards. However, this movie was very entertaining. It kept my attention from start to finish. The acting was good. The plot was interesting. There were several "twists" in the story that were interesting and understandable. It is my opinion that a few of the "action" scenes were exorbitant, but in 2011 it is probably expected by a majority of the audience. I recommend this film. Full Review »
  2. Feb 21, 2011
    8
    Very entertaining movie. Lots of action but not overdone and good plot. I went in thinking the plot was going to be ridiculous but it wasn't, it was reasonable. Enjoyable actors to watch. Overall a fun time at a movie. Full Review »
  3. Feb 20, 2011
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Enjoyed the movie until the ending. Not as much action for something that is advertised as action packed. Had more then one occasion where moments that should have been surprising were not. Diane Kruger kicked more butt then Neeson. Spoilers:

    How a terrorist can plant a bomb, admit to planting it to a room filled with people, have it explode, then stroll away without a whole country searching for him is crazy. Yes, the guy saved some people's lives, but he still blew up a hotel! The ending was absolutely unrealistic. The writing was trying so hard to be smart and then made such a stupid mistake in the end.
    Full Review »