Sunday, 29 July 2012

Blasting on Metacritic Users 1: Unknown

This new blog series titled "Blasting on Metacritic Users" is about metacritic.com users who overrates or underrates a movie, TV show, game or music and just how wrong they are. Today, we're taking a look at Unknown. It scored an overall 6.3/10 based on 214 ratings according to metacritic (the scores can easily change) which indicates "generally favorable reviews", obviously overrated and this article is going to explain why this movie is more of a 5/10. If you strongly agree with this review, you can help bring the ratings down by submitting a negative rating on the website. A review is optional!
Theatrical release poster
Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) and his wife (January Jones) arrive at a hotel in Berlin to attend a biotechnology summit. He realises that he left his briefcase at the airport so he takes a cab but on his way to the airport the cab crashes off the bridge and into the river. He wakes up from his coma four days after the crash at a hospital.

Martin then returns to the hotel only to find out that his wife does not recognise him and is with another man who has his identity. With the authorities believing that he’s crazy as well as being hunted by mysterious assassins, Martin take matters onto his own hands to find out who he really is and what is happening to him with a help of an unlikely ally.

Unknown starts off well as it begins to make you wonder what is going on and what happens at the end. Of course, I’m not going to spoil the ending but during the whole film it becomes so derivative that the movie is simply not plausible. The director, Jaume Collet-Serra, succeeds in making the film better than average, just like in House of Wax, but fails to build up the film, despite an interesting premise, just like in Orphan.

There were a few contrived scenarios such as the scene where Nurse Herfort gives Dr. Martin Harris a contact information card to a PI, all of a sudden, and Smith breaks Nurse Herfort’s neck leaving her body next to Dr. Martin Harris, who was able to reach for her scissors. Why didn't he hide her body in the first place? Then Liam Neeson wouldn't have escaped. Sure, he's the protagonist but that's what a smart person would've done.

Couldn't the screenwriters, Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell, come up with something better or, at least, make the scenario more convincing? Since the movie is based on the novel, they either changed the scenario to something worse or the novel is just as bad as the film.

To regular audiences, you may enjoy Unknown. But for those who have seen one too many movies, you may spot the plot points from other, better, thrillers, such as Guillaume Canet's Tell No One, but Liam Neeson’s performance makes the movie worth watching, at least, as he gives it his all. Not to say that Unknown is a completely terrible movie but it’s certainly not a good one either with a so-so ending and a twist that feels like it was ripped from The Bourne Ultimatum.

In conclusion, the narrative is muddled and Unknown borrows twists and plot plots from better thrillers; ultimately wasting its talented lead actor, Liam Neeson, as well as the films interesting premise. Your money would be well spent on another film. Something like The Bourne trilogy and Tell No One, the films mentioned earlier.

5/10

Mysterious Skin

Theatrical release poster
Mysterious Skin is about two young boys who were sexually abused by their baseball couch and how the event changed their life forever. One of the boys grew up to be a reckless male prostitute (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the other boy (Brady Corbet) repressed his assault by believing that he was abducted by aliens.

Mysterious Skin is a powerful tale about trauma and abuse that shreds light on child molestation, which is a very taboo subject that gets shoved under the rug in society. The film shows us that childhood incidences can stay with you forever, even child molestation, although the situation in Mysterious Skin isn’t very common.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's bold performance and Gregg Araki's (director of Smiley Face) sensitive direction makes this film less difficult to watch as it rewards you with a thought-provoking, touching experience.

It’s heart-breaking to see that Neil McCormick’s abuse was what steered him towards the self-destructive path of prostitution and the realistic portrayal of the long-term effect of child sexual abuse on young boys. This film has to be taken seriously by both movie buffs and regular audiences; otherwise it might actually make your skin crawl.

In conclusion, Mysterious Skin is Gregg Araki’s best film to date that open the eyes of the audiences. The film teaches us that for the abuser, the sexual act may seem harmless. But for the children, they can carry the resulting trauma for the rest of their lives. Mysterious Skin could've been painful, due to its subject matter, but it’s strangely the most moving film about child abuse.

8/10