The cesspool around the Saw franchise has spilled into the Indiewood projects not far from where first-time director Simon Brand fires off this Hollywood calling card about five men who wake up inside a warehouse with no memory of who they are and how they got there. Between them, the can-it-get-any-worse cast has made some of the most reprehensible movies of the last decade, but is it a stroke of genius or unfortunate coincidence that Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Joe Pantoliano, Barry Pepper, and Jeremy Sisto spend much of Unknown trying to figure out who among them are the real douche bags? This much is known: Since none of these men have any recollection of Pay It Forward, Battlefield Earth, or Bad Boys II, they must settle for less traumatic, more short-term evidence—engraved lighters, mysterious phone calls, and newspaper clippings—to piece together the last few days of their lives, which include kidnapping and the murder of a police officer. For some reason, peering into mirrors will trigger psychotropic flashbacks, but more perplexing is why these medulla-raping scenarios are shot in what could be 3D technology. A point emerges, this notion that we’re all born good, but it’s not one that gets a concerned workout. Caviezel, though, tries his hardest to not only sell this shit as something worthwhile but to also soften the blow of what feels like a half dozen unnecessary endings. Pity they couldn’t have gotten John Forstythe to appear as Jigsaw—maybe then we would have had something worth remembering.
- IFC First Take
- 90 min
- Simon Brand
- Matthew Waynee
- Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Joe Pantoliano, Barry Pepper, Jeremy Sisto, Bridget Moynahan, Peter Stormare, Clayne Crawford
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: