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Unknown is a 2011 action-thriller film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and starring Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, and Frank Langella. The film, produced by Joel Silver, Leonard Goldberg and Andrew Rona, is based on the 2003 French novel by Didier Van Cauwelaert published in English as Out of My Head which was adapted as the film s screenplay by Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell. The narrative centers around a professor who wakes up from a four-day long coma and sets out to prove his identity after no one recognizes him, including his own wife, and another man claims to be him.

Released on 18 February 2011, the film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $136 million against its $30 million budget.


Martin Harris and his wife Liz arrive in Berlin for a biotechnology summit. At their hotel, Harris realizes he left his briefcase at the airport and takes a taxi to retrieve it. The taxi is involved in an accident and crashes into the Spree, knocking him unconscious. The driver rescues him but flees the scene. Harris regains consciousness at a hospital after being in a coma for four days.

When Harris returns to the hotel, he discovers Liz with another man. Liz says this man is her husband and declares she does not know Harris. The police are called, and Harris attempts to prove his identity by calling a colleague named Rodney Cole, to no avail. He writes down his schedule for the next day from memory. When he visits the office of Professor Leo Bressler, whom he is scheduled to meet, Dr. Harris is already there. As Harris attempts to prove his identity, Harris provides identification and a family photo, both of which have his face. Overwhelmed by the identity crisis, Harris loses consciousness and awakens back at the hospital. A terrorist named Smith kills Harris s attending nurse, but Harris is able to escape him.

Harris seeks help from a private investigator and former Stasi agent Ernst Jürgen. Harris s only clues are his father s book on botany and Gina, the taxi driver, an undocumented Bosnian immigrant who has been working at a diner since the crash. While Harris persuades her to help him, Jürgen researches Harris and the biotechnology summit, discovering it is to be attended by Prince Shada of Saudi Arabia. The prince is funding a secret project headed by Bressler, and has survived numerous assassination attempts. Jürgen suspects that the identity theft might be related.

Harris and Gina are attacked in her apartment by Smith and another terrorist, Jones; they escape after Gina kills Smith. Harris finds that Liz has written a series of numbers in his book, numbers that correspond to words found on specific pages. Using his schedule, Harris confronts Liz alone; she tells him that he left his briefcase at the airport. Meanwhile, Jürgen receives Cole at his office and reveals his findings of a secret terrorist group known as Section 15. Jürgen soon deduces that Cole is a former mercenary and member of the group. Knowing Cole is there to interrogate and kill him and with no way of escape, Jürgen commits suicide to protect Harris.

After retrieving his briefcase, Harris parts ways with Gina. When she sees him kidnapped by Cole and Jones, she steals a taxi and follows them. When Harris awakes, Cole explains that Martin Harris is just a cover name created by Harris. His head injury caused him to believe the cover persona was real; when Liz notified Cole of the injury, Harris was activated as his replacement. Gina runs over Jones before he can kill Harris, then rams Cole s van, killing him as well. After Harris finds a hidden compartment in his briefcase containing two Canadian passports, he remembers that he and Liz were in Berlin three months earlier to plant a bomb in Prince Shada s suite.

Now aware of his own role in the assassination plot, Harris seeks to redeem himself by thwarting it. Hotel security immediately arrests Harris and Gina, but Harris proves his earlier visit to the hotel. After security is convinced of the bomb s presence, they evacuate the hotel.

Harris realizes that Section 15 s target is not Prince Shada, but Bressler, who has developed a genetically modified breed of corn capable of surviving harsh climates. Liz accesses Bressler s laptop and steals the data. With Bressler s death and the theft of his research, billions of dollars would fall into the wrong hands. Seeing that the assassination attempt has been foiled, Liz tries to disarm the bomb but fails and is killed when it explodes. Harris kills Harris , the last remaining Section 15 terrorist, before he can murder Bressler. While Bressler announces that he is giving his project to the world for free, Harris and Gina—with new identities—board a train together.


  • Liam Neeson as Martin Harris
  • Diane Kruger as Gina
  • January Jones as Elizabeth Liz Harris
  • Aidan Quinn as imposter Martin
  • Frank Langella as Rodney Cole
  • Bruno Ganz as Ernst Jürgen, a former Stasi operative
  • Sebastian Koch as Professor Bressler
  • Stipe Erceg as Jones
  • Olivier Schneider as Smith
  • Rainer Bock as Herr Strauss (chief of hotel security)
  • Mido Hamada as Prince Shada
  • Karl Markovics as Dr. Farge
  • Eva Löbau as Nurse Gretchen Erfurt
  • Clint Dyer as Biko

Many German actors were cast for the film. Bock had previously starred in Inglourious Basterds (which also starred Diane Kruger) and The White Ribbon. Other cast includes Adnan Maral as a Turkish taxi driver and Petra Schmidt-Schaller as an immigration officer. Kruger herself is also German, despite playing a non-German character.


Principal photography took place in early February 2010 in Berlin, Germany, and in the Studio Babelsberg film studios. The bridge the taxi plunges from is the Oberbaumbrücke. The Friedrichstraße was blocked for several nights for the shooting of a car chase. Some of the shooting was done in the Hotel Adlon. Locations include the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin Friedrichstraße station, Pariser Platz, Museum Island, the Oranienburger Straße in Berlin and the Leipzig/Halle Airport. According to Andrew Rona, the budget was $40 million. Producer Joel Silver s US company Dark Castle Entertainment contributed $30 million. German public film funds supported the production with €4.65 million (more than $6 million). The working title was Unknown White Male.


Unknown was screened out of competition at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival. It was released in the United States on 18 February 2011.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, the film has an approval rating of 55% based on 200 reviews; the average rating is 5.81/10. The site s critical consensus reads, Liam Neeson elevates the proceedings considerably, but Unknown is ultimately too derivative – and implausible – to take advantage of its intriguing premise. On Metacritic the film has an average weighted score of 56 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating mixed or average reviews . Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of B+ on an A+ to F scale.

Richard Roeper gave the film a B+ and wrote, At times, Unknown stretches plausibility to the near breaking point, but it s so well paced and the performances are so strong and most of the questions are ultimately answered. This is a very solid thriller. Justin Chang of Variety called it an emotionally and psychologically threadbare exercise .

Box office

Unknown grossed $63.7 million in North America and $72.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $136.1 million.

It finished at number one opening at its first week of release with $21.9 million.

Television series

In June 2021, it was announced that a sequel television series based on the film is in development at TNT. The project will be produced by Dark Castle Entertainment where Sean Finegan will write the pilot, Karl Gajdusek and Speed Weed will serve as executive producers and show runners, Neeson also will serve as executive producer and Collet-Serra will direct the pilot and executive produce.

Year 2011
ReleaseDate 2011-02-18
RuntimeMins 113
RuntimeStr 1h 53min
Plot When a man awakens from a coma only to discover that someone has taken on his identity, he teams up with a young woman to prove who he is.
Awards Awards, 3 nominations
Directors Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers Oliver Butcher, Stephen Cornwell, Didier Van Cauwelaert
Stars Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones
Produced by Aaron Auch,Olivier Courson,Susan Downey,Ethan Erwin,Christoph Fisser,Léonard Glowinski,Leonard Goldberg,Ron Halpern,Adam Kuhn,Peter McAleese,Sarah Meyer,Richard Mirisch,Henning Molfenter,Steve Richards,Andrew Rona,Joel Silver,Charlie Woebcken
Music by John Ottman,Alexander Rudd
Cinematography by Flavio Martínez Labiano
Film Editing by Timothy Alverson
Casting By Lucinda Syson
Production Design by Richard Bridgland
Art Direction by Stephen Dobric,Anja Müller,Andreas Olshausen,Cornelia Ott
Set Decoration by Bernhard Henrich
Costume Design by Ruth Myers
Makeup Department Charlotte Chang,Robbie Drake,Anja Drewermann,Pamela Grujic,Bettina Hohensee,Paul Hyett,Graham Johnston,Susanne Kasper,Antje Langner,Paula Leupold,Lorna McGowan,Silke Mock,Michael Nickiforek,Irmela Oswald,Pascale Sophia Profe-Bracht,Mike Reinecke,Chris Rossa,Daniela Schmiemann,Katrin Schneider,Krisztina Szanto-Konthur,Natalie von Brunn,Noriko Watanabe
Production Management Michael Guthke,Philipp Klausing,Daniel Mattig,Michael Scheel,Klaus Spinnler,Alan J. Wands,Emma Zee
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Matthew Baker,Ben Burt,Ralph Eisenmann,Max Keene,Miguel Angelo Pate,Jasmin Steigler,Richard Styles,Caroline Veyssière,Richard Wilson,Henry Wolff,Marc Wolff
Art Department Yasmin Al-Naib,David Allcock,Sabrina Barteleit,Friederike Beckert,Reiner Behrends,Markus Bendler,Henning Brehm,Ludolf Böhm,Eunha Choi,Lars Dicht,Peggy Dix,Frank Dockhorn,Michael Düwel,Enzo Enzel,Jaeson Finn,Katja Fischer,Michael Fissneider,Alex Friedrich,Felix Gallo,Robin Haefs,Sebastian Hanusch,Leif Heanzo,Wolfgang Hein,Christoph Heinecke,Ingeborg Heinemann,Manuel Hess,Andreas Horstmann,Friedrike Kaempfer,Christoph Kettenring,Claudia Kiefer,Tom Kirsten,Jennie Konrad,Oliver Kuhlmann,Alexander Lambriev,Dominic Lavery,Mario Lojek,Patrick Lojek,Claus Mayr,Kathrin Namrodzki,Benjamin Palmer,Uli Passauer,Peter Popken,Christian Pralle,Marco Pressler,Melanie Reichert,Judith Rosskoth,Daniel Sandberg,Bettina Scheibe,Jochen Schuetz,Tim Sehling,Joao Gonzaga Silveira,Sergej Simonenko,William Simpson,Florian Speidel,Alexander Stolle,Seth Turner,Amanda Ward,Simon Weisse
Sound Department Nick Adams,Mark Appleby,Dillon Bennett,Andy Botham,Chris Burdon,Peter Burgis,Ed Colyer,Andie Derrick,Benjamin Dunker,Nick Foley,Glen Gathard,Manu Gerber,Lee Herrick,Adam Horley,Mirko Höpfner,Bernhard Joest,Steve Little,Richard Lovell,Joe Maher,Markus Moll,Beauxregard Neylen,Colin Nicolson,Thomas J. O’Connell,Jordan O’Neill,Jan Petrov,Becki Ponting,Johnathan Rush,Brian Seagrave,Andy Stallabrass,Jason Swanscott,Ian Tapp,Oliver Tarney,Mark Taylor,Daniel Weis,Gunnar Óskarsson,Robert Karlsson
Special Effects by Kevin Adcock,Dermot Brogan,Ben Burt,Mario Duthie,Chris Fitzgerald,Colin Foster,Barrie Gower,Mike Kelt,Mickey Kirsten,Uwe Lehmann,Kristyan Mallett,Daniel Netschajew,Ken Petrie,Monty Ploch,Vasili Rinquest,Thomas Thiele,Thomas Trocha,Bobby Vokes,Lutz Zeidler
Visual Effects by Marc Adamson,Nicolas Aithadi,Ajesh.k.t,Sav Akyüz,Francine Almeida,Dan Alterman,Sneha Amin,Paul Arion,Jaume Arteman,Asregadoo Arundi,Arunraj,Bakiyaraj,Travis Baumann,Steven Begg,Antony Bluff,Louise Brand,Emma Braney,Steven Bray,Dan Breckwoldt,Luke Butler,Warwick Campbell,Joe Carhart,Matthieu Chardonnet,Vasistha Chawda,Santosh Choudhary,Riccardo Coccia,Simone Coco,Tom Collier,Loraine Cooper,Barry Corcoran,Chris Coupland,Shome Dasgupta,Ryan Delaney,Stanley A. Dellimore,Nick Drew,Stefan Drury,Pratik Dubey,Nicole Duncan,Chris Elson,David Emeny,Sean Farrow,Bruno Fernandes,Tim Field,Matt Foster,Prag Gargatte,Arijit Ghosh,Somesh Ghosh,Arushi Govil,Carl Grinter,Muriel Gérard,Noel Harmes,Sandro Henriques,Martin Hobbs,Bastian Hopfgarten,Adam Howard,Will Hudson,Emma Hulme,Louise Hussey,Marc Hutchings,Ludovic Iochem,Shashank Jadhav,Paul Jones,Ashwin Joshi,Dushyant Kashyap,Dam Khuman,Simon Kilroe,Dhananjay Kumar,Anthony Laranjo,Stuart Lashley,Miles Lauridsen,Matthew Lawrence,Brad Le-Riche,Duncan Lees,Debabrata Maity,Pranav Malasi,Suchint Mandloi,Nik Martin,Katie McCulloch,Jignesh Mehta,Tobias Meier,Molinare,Stephen Molyneaux,Ray Moody,Abhijit Mulye,Jesh Krishna Murthy,Alexa Müller-Heyn,Vinay Naik,Anand Nayak,Leo Neelands,Paul Norris,Collette Nunes,Fraehan Pagdiwalla,Zissis Papatzikis,Nathaniel Park,Riaz Patel,Gauri Patil,Joe Pavlo,Anthony Peck,Kim Phelan,Khatal Prajakta,Glen Pratt,Jonathan Privett,John Purdie,Tyagi Reetuj,Gareth Repton,Tina Richardson,Katie Roehrick,Sandeep Roy,Jean-Marc Rulier,Katya Ruslanova,Jaqgravan Sananikone,Walter Schluttenhofer Lees,Ben Sharp,Asa Shoul,Nishanth Shrinivasa,Shyam Shrivastava,Raunaq Singh,David Sjodin,Mohamed Sobhy,Swapnil Sonawane,Sepp Sonntag,Henry South,Angela Stanley,Sutrayepavankumar,Shailendra Swarnkar,Lucy Tanner,Merzin Tavaria,Ashley Tilley,Matthew Tinsley,Raymond Tjernstrom,Mathilde Tollec,Josselin Tonnellier,Oscar Tornincasa,Samantha Tracey,Craig Travis,Liam Tully,Michael Turoff,Shanaullah Umerji,Audrius Urbonavicius,Arpita Venugopal,Vinod Vyas,Tim Walton,Grant White,Simon Wilkinson,Carsten Woithe,Salvador Zalvidea,Lenka Zuckova,Kathryn Cole,Nikhil Ghoorbin,Mark Gostlow,Mark Prusten,Christopher Puchta,Kumar Umesh
Stunts Marco Albrecht,Christian Angres,Denise Badura,George Bailey,Jean-Marc Bellu,Jürgen Blumenthal,Michael Bornhütter,Rüdiger Buff,Volkhart Buff,Jan Böhme,Silke Böttcher,Günther Cords,François Doge,Georg Ebinal,Jörg Ellmer,Sedat Freistadt,Kristoffer Fuss,Yves Girard,Sascha Girndt,Joshua Grothe,Simon Grzesczak,Wanja Götz,Matthias Günther,Ralph Güthler,Fred Hady,Petra Hady,Sigo Heinisch,Timo Honsa,Vladimir Houbart,Oliver Juhrs,David Julienne,Dominique Julienne,Michel Julienne,Heiko Kiesow,Felix Koch,Nils Lange,Stefan Langel,Alessija Lause,Pascal Lavanchy,René Lay,Grégory Loffredo,Christophe Marsaud,Alister Mazzotti,Bruno Montani,Mike Möller,Jason Oettle,Piet Paes,Elaine Parthen,Christian Petersson,Wojtek Prygel,Markus Pütterich,Swen Raschka,Jana Reinhardt,Christophe Roblin,Kim Ruhnau,Loïc Saintilan,Babette Schimanek,Bernhard Schirmer,Olivier Schneider,Katrin Schrake,Thomas Schubert,Wolfgang Stegemann,Daniela Stein,Daniel Stockhorst,Matze Stutz,Eskindir Tesfay,André Thaldorf,Asuka Tovazzi,Mark Vanselow,Vanessa Wieduwilt,Helga Wretman,Chrissi Zander,Marco Albrecht,Sandra Barger,Mike Braun,Jörg Ellmer,Yves Girard,Michel Julienne,Pascal Lavanchy,Alister Mazzotti,Jason Oettle,Markus Pütterich,Bernhard Schirmer,Franz Spilhaus,Daniela Stein,Daniel Stockhorst,Asuka Tovazzi,Mark Vanselow,Patrick Vo
Camera and Electrical Department Sam Alberg,Juan José Alcaide,Christian Almesberger,Martin Bartels,Klemens Becker,Sebastian Behrens,Yoshua Berkowitz,Terence Bulley,Celio Castro,Adrian Cranage,Matthias Edinger,Greta Ehrhart,Daniel Erb,Helge Felgendreher,Jan-Paul Gauly,Matthias Gelhausen,Harry Groepler,Yann Gunther,Sascha Görlich,Oliver Haas,Eddie Handschak,Christopher Haug,Dietmar Haupt,Hans Hellner,Jan Hinrich Hoffmann,Alex Howe,Thomas Hübener,Roman Jakobi,Rafael Jeneral,Daniel Jopp,Sophie Kirchberg,Heiko Klimenko-hamann,Helko Klünder,Markus Koch,Glenn König,Philipp Lange,Jay Maidment,John Marzano,Mario Matic,Sascha Mieke,Konstantin Minnich,Oliver Moron,Roland Moses,Mic Mueller,Beda Mulzer,Gero Neumann,Kenneth Pearson,Ilko Petkow,Marcus Pohlus,Johannes Precht,Helmut Prein,Andreas Pölzl,Philip Rath,Philipp Rath,Lars Richter,Peter Robertson,Carola Rodriguez Sanchez,Thibault Roginas,Christian Rybka,Till Sadlowsky,Stefan Scheuring,Claudia Schnoor,Axel Scholz,Martin Smith,Steffen Strauss,Leah Striker,Marco Susic,Peter Talbot,Thomas Thiele,Adrian van Bronswijk,Christof Wahl,Heiko Wentorp,Jens Winkler,Marc Wolff,Charlie Woodburn,Mike Wächter,Uwe Zegnotat,Alexander Zielke,Rouven Schardt
Casting Department Sebastian Alten,Lydia Franziska Bienas,Simone Bär,Jessika Eisenkolb,Anton Kaiser,Georgie North,Johanna Ragwitz
Costume and Wardrobe Department Jeanette Apel,Daniela Backes,Urs Dierker,Claudia Gonschorek,Betsy Heimann,Anna Klages,Anna Klering,Eleanor Landgrebe,Anna Isabell Logen,Theresa Anna Luther,William McPhail,Anna Munro,Patricia Puisy,Julia Schell,Meike Schlegel,Bettina Seifert,Deirdre Sheehan,Dorothea Sooth,Juliana Stenzel,Susanne Stroh,Katja Willecke,Gillian Wood,Erika Woop
Editorial Department Matt Adams,Matthew Benns,Siobhan Boyes,Dan Dolan,Christopher Hills-Wright,Richard Ketteridge,Todd Kleparski,Jana Krohn,Franklin Peterson,Majid Shaikh,Asa Shoul,Dominic Thomson,Marn Davies
Location Management Özkan Arslan,Simon Daniel,Guido Fischer,Daniel Ginelli,Henrik Greisner,Klaus Große Darrelmann,Thomas Lauterkorn,David Pieper,Jasmin Schmidt,Jürgen Schwämmle,Roland Schütz,Bashaar Wahab,Matteo Canalis Wandel
Music Department James Bellamy,Mark Berrow,Matt Biffa,Richard Bissill,Thomas Bowes,Michael Connell,Olga FitzRoy,Jason Livesay,Nolan Livesay,John Ottman,Colin Rae,Lior Rosner,Andy Ross,Shie Rozow,Darren Smith,Casey Stone,Jake Walker,Allen Walley,Edwin Wendler,Lucy Whalley,Bruce White,Alison Wright,Helen Yates,Carter Armstrong,Chris Clad,Nicolas Neidhardt,Edwin Wendler
Script and Continuity Department Morag Cameron,Ayuko Koresawa,Zoe Simijonovic
Transportation Department Marcel Ahrens,Marcel De Lamotte,Florian Dieckmann,Timo Dobbert,Lord Ehlers,Marc Eiselt,Matthias Gelhausen,Florian Haeger,Steffen Haronitis,Daniel Huhn,Wolfgang Hütter,Robert Keller,Oliver Kueper-Grobecker,Denis Küper,Jan Luo,Norbert Mentrop,Andreas Pauli,Sebastian Schulz,Knuth Sorgers,Daniel Steiner,Thomas Suess,Altay Ünsal
Additional Crew Damian Anderson,Sabrina Barteleit,Jean-Marc Bellu,Stephen Bender,Markus Bensch,Dash Boam,Eve Borchardt,Ben Brown,Matthew Brown,Gero Brugmann,Nina Büttner,Kyle Cooper,Nicholas Dorn,Patrick Dreikauss,Manija Emran,Tara Finegan,Lucia Foster Found,Shyama Friedenson,Nicola Gador,Linda Gamble,Ilias Grigoriou,Henry Grimm,Brendan Gunn,Nils Hasenau,Rico Herre,Josie Hines,Jens Hoffmann,Miranda Howard-Williams,Joshua Hummel,Nicola Kelly Hütter,Mun Ju Kim,Mickey Kirsten,Martin Kleppel,Daniel Kraus,Heebok Lee,Ronald J. Levin,Silvia Lindner,Jan R. Martin,Michèle Maurer,Paul Melzow,Mathias Metzner,Peti Misaila,Robert Morávek,Danny Märtin,Robert J. Napier,Kevin Nerlich,Wolfgang Oriwol,Marco Ostareck,Karsten Piel,Christina Rice,Ryan Robertson,Liam French Robinson,Andreas Rose,Philipp Rosié,Lara Roth,Steve Sauthoff,Simon Schmidt,Lena Schmigalla,Johannes Schwerdt,René Seifert,Oneil Sharma,Gabriele Spilles,Andy Stephens,Kai Stänicke,Alistair Thompson,Jaime Toporovich,Kiri Kristin Trier,Jane Trower,Mark Vanselow,Max von Armansperg,Matteo Canalis Wandel,Silke Werner,Mario Wittmann,Eike Wolf,Katja Zaus,Sonja B. Zimmer,Chris Besseling,Rob Hill,Bianca Makarewicz,Marc Wolff
Genres Action, Mystery, Thriller
Companies Dark Castle Entertainment, Panda Productions Inc., Canal+
Countries UK, Germany, France, USA
Languages English, German, Turkish, Arabic
ContentRating PG-13
ImDbRating 6.8
ImDbRatingVotes 261517
MetacriticRating 56
Keywords amnesia,coma,airport,scientist,nurse