The nifty premise of Unknown
owes a large debt of gratitude to the twin brain-teasers Memento
and The Usual Suspects
but first-time screenwriter Matthew Waynee and music-video/commercial director Simon Brand will need a tad more experience before achieving the atmospheric intensity or narrative dexterity of those two films. Five battered and bruised men wake up in a locked warehouse, unable to recall who they are or how they got there. Fragmentary memories and a two-day-old newspaper suggest the men were all part of a kidnapping for ransom -- but not on which side of the crime each one stands. The solid cast includes Jim Caviezel, Barry Pepper and Greg Kinnear, but the pacing is slightly off, with the action switching between the imprisoned men and the police who are trying to find them. What should be a mounting sense of urgency inside the warehouse (think Reservoir Dogs
) falters and goes slack.
Unknown plays at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli. Visit www.denverfilm.org for showtimes and more information.