Liam Neeson gives his fists a well deserved rest in his latest Euro-thriller

Unknown may look like another Taken-style action-fest for Liam Neeson (and it was definitely advertised at such), but apart from a quick car chase and a final punch up, it’s actually the kind of conspiracy thriller that both Alfred Hitchcock and Roman Polanski have dabbled with over the years. That’s not to say that Unknown is in any way on a par with The Lady Vanishes or Frantic, but while it lasts it’s an entertaining ride that offers up some solid performances from its leads, stylish direction from Jaume Collet-Serra and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing right up to the final revelations.

Picture: Taking its cues from the snow-covered streets of Berlin, Unknown opts for a cold visual style that emphasises blues, greens and deep blacks. This not only gives the film a distinctive aesthetic, but it ensures that sudden bursts of bold colour (the orange of the paramedics’ jackets in Chapter 4 and the deep blue and red lighting in Chapter 7’s nightclub) really pop off the screen. The AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode handles all of this with aplomb, as it does with grain retention throughout the film. The only question mark revolves around fine detailing, which is never as sharp as you’d expect outside of close-ups – but this appears to be a result of picture tweaks in post production, rather than an issue with the encode itself.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Even though Unknown doesn’t offer up that much in the way of action, it still features a very satisfying DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. Dialogue is crystal clear throughout and it also does an excellent job of evoking ambience for its many locations through considered atmospheric effects. That said, it also knows how to push the boat out during the film’s more dynamic scenes, making superb use of the full soundstage and subwoofer during the car crash in Chapter 1, the chase in Chapter 6 and the explosive finale in Chapter 11.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Fans of the film will undoubtedly be disappointed by the meagre extras gathered together for this release. There’s a trio of sub-five-minute featurettes that give a cursory look behind-the-scenes and (despite the short running times) even manage to repeat each other on a few occasions. Also included are six interviews with the cast and crew, the trailer and a DVD copy of the film.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: Pleasing picture and sound ensure that this Blu-ray thriller is worth a rent.

Optimum, Region B BD/R2 DVD, £25 approx, On sale now