Liam Neeson and Diane Kruger starr in a brilliantly composed action-thriller set in Berlin
When American scientist Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) and his wife Liz (January Jones) arrive in Berlin to attend the international biotechnology congress, he notices that his briefcase is missing shortly before checking into Hotel Adlon and heads back to the airport. His taxi is then involved in a major accident and Harris wakes up four days later in a hospital. Just fragmentary remembering what has happened, he leaves the hospital, looking for his wife, who states she does not know him and proves this by presenting her “real” husband. What follows is a dynamic search for Harris’ identity, where he is not alone. Though no one at the congress seems to believe him, he finds help in the illegal immigrant taxi driver Gina (Diane Kruger) and the ex-Stasi agent Ernst Jürgen (Bruno Ganz).
From the first until the very last shot, this film was one of the most exciting, thrilling movies I have seen for a long time. I tend to get bored when I’m watching action films, but this one exceeded my expectations by far and is completely different: First of all, it’s a gripping story, the audience can absolutely feel with Harris, though there are moments when one doesn’t really know who is telling the truth – and what exactly IS the truth anyway? Secondly, it’s one of these films where, once you think you’ve riddled it out, you are proved wrong. Thus, it never get’s boring and the viewer is eager to keep his eyes open for more clues.
This film has a perfectly balanced mixture of action and thriller elements, plus a very intelligently arranged plot. Apart from Neeson, who mimes the pitiful, confused but throughout hopeful Dr. Harris, Bruno Ganz stands out as a superb, convincing ex-Stasi agent, absolutely magnificent. Diane Kruger, who plays Bosnian immigrant Gina, is the livlier, naturalier acting counterpart to Harris’ wife Liz. January Jones, who you might know from Mad Men, is a bit disappointing. Of course, her character requires her to play a cool, inapproachable woman, but there is something about her play which just seems stiff and artificial.
It’s also quite nice that Berlin is the setting – of course, many German clichés can be found right at the beginning: Bad weather, constrained officials – but then again, the story isn’t a happy fairytale. There is no sunshine throughout the whole film, except for the opening scene, where Dr. and Mrs. Harris can be seen on a plane above the clouds.
So, all in all an intelligent thriller which will definitely surprise you (not only at the end, but at several passages).
I hope you get to watch it, you should really go and see it – totally worth the money!