Unknown (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Optimum Releasing
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (27th December 2013).
The Film

***This is an A/V and extras review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

Dr. Martin Harris awakes in Berlin hospital with severe head injuries and very little knowledge as to how he got there. The doctors inform him that he has been in a coma for four days after surviving a near fatal car crash. Attempting to piece together the incidents leading up to the accident, he discovers that his wife no longer recognises him and another man has assumed his identity. Now the only thing standing in the way of him and the truth is a deadly team of trained assassins who will stop at nothing to have him killed. It's time for Dr Harris to face his identity, his sanity and take back his life... by force.

Starring Liam Neeson (Taken, The A-Team), Diane Kruger (Inglorious Basterds, Troy) and January Jones (Mad Men, X-Men: First Class), Unknown is a gripping mystery pumped with visceral action and an explosive revelation around every twist.

Video

Optimum Releasing released Serra's "Unknown" onto Blu-ray back in 2011 in the original aspect ratio of 2.40:1. The transfer is 1080p, uses an AVC MPEG-4 codec, and is a joy to look at.

Considering the amount of action, and some of the locations and environments used, I was amazed at just how good fine detail appeared to be. Every pore, contour and unshaven bit of stubble shows great clarity and sharpness. Shadow detail is also excellent, and this is helped by the fact that the black levels are consistently impressive without any signs of blockiness. Director of photography Flavio Martínez Labiano has appeared to use some light blue/green hues throughout the feature, but this does not disturb the accurateness of skin tones or other lighter colours. There is a thin layer of natural grain throughout, and the way it remains in the transfer leads me to believe that if digital noise reduction did take place, it was done well and not overly enthusiastically. There were one or two moments of minor artefacting, but other than that I noticed no edge enhancement, aliasing, or scratches.

The disc is region B locked, and the feature runs 113:03.

Audio

There are two audio options available here:
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- English LPCM 2.0 Stereo

For my viewing, I opted for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, and it was every bit as impressive as the transfer. The LFE is well used, especially during the initial taxi accident, and this scene also shows off good subtle use of the surrounds, when Neeson's character is stuck in the taxi underwater. The score by John Ottman and Alexander Rudd is a little formulaic, but well utilised as the volume creeps up in the surrounds as required. Dialogue is clear at all times and there is no sign of damage such as dropouts or scratches. I detected no sign of background hiss. Note that the LPCM track plays by default.

Optional subtitles are available in English, for the hard of hearing.

Extras

The extras start with a series of short featurettes:
- "Unknown: The Story" (4:03)
- "Behind the Scenes" (4:22)
- "Liam Neeson: Known Action Hero" (4:32)
Unfortunately, these are not very in-depth, and are essentially EPK style promotional pieces. We do learn a little about the background of the film, and what it was like to be on set, but it is all over far too fast to really be of any note. These are one watch featurettes only, and won't hold up for repeat viewings.

Next up, we have a series of interviews:
- Liam Neeson (8:41)
- Diane Kruger (6:45)
- January Jones (6:20)
- Director Jaume Collet-Sera (8:20)
- Producer Joel Silver (8:32)
- Producer Leonard Goldberg (9:57)
These interviews are really just promotional soundbites that could have been filmed by any formulaic film review television programme around. There are a few moments that do surprise me, such as how open producer Joel Silver is about his love for filming in Berlin due to the tax breaks (this was his sixth movie shot there), but these interviews are generally full of your typical back-slapping fluff.

The rest of the extras are self-explanatory:
Trailer (1:07)
Bonus Trailers: "The Losers", "Source Code", "The Tourist", "Animal Kingdom"

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: A Audio: A Extras: D+ Overall: B+

 


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