Thursday, February 24, 2011


Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones
Aidan Quinn,Frank Langella, Bruno Ganz

"Take back your Life"

Cinema 8, SM MegaMall

Dr Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) and his wife Elizabeth (January Jones) arrive in Berlin to attend a bio tech conference. When they reach the impressive Adlon hotel, he realizes he left his briefcase at the airport. So he jumps into a taxi to get back to the airport. En route, he has a horrible car accident and he suffers severe head trauma. Four days later in a hospital, he wakes up from a coma. The physician inquires if he knows who he is because there were no identification on his person. He replies he is Martin Harris, an American doctor in town for a conference.

Suffering from a blurry state of mind with bouts of amnesia, he returns to the hotel to look for his wife. But she doesn't recognize him and insists she has never seen him in her life. The worse part is that another person has assumed his identity and claims he is the real Martin Harris, complete with the proper credentials.

That whole introduction is pretty much revealed in the trailer/teaser for this film. So I didn't reveal any spoilers. Heh! The rest of the film follows the hapless Martin who has lost everything as he roams the streets of Berlin in a quest to unravel the truth. He must now figure out what happened to his life. At the same time, he encounters some characters who may or may not be beneficial in helping him put the puzzles together.

It is mostly standard Euro thriller territory: iconic urban locales, sleek car chases, throbbing underground clubs and scenes of sneaking into and out of buildings and disappearing in crowds. The writers have done a good job of incorporating the surreal and the crazy aspects of learning that someone has taken your place in the world.

And there is no better person to portray this role than Liam Neeson. His characterization is genuinely credible. His towering physique can be menacing yet he can also be very subtle at the same time. He is able to truly impart to the audience Martin's intense struggle with sanity and the inner turmoil of finding the truth behind the complicated chaos.

The supporting cast (Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, Frank Langella) did well in contributing to the suspense filled thriller. But I did have some issues with the rigidly bad acting of January Jones. And it wasn't because she was portraying an icy cold character, she didn't add any depth to her role.

As I was watching I certainly could not clearly figure out what was going on. It was only when another towering figure in the form of Frank Langella's character shows up towards the end that I got the light bulb moment. The sudden shocking revelations come towards you at a very fast pace. Everything nicely falls into place with an explosive conclusion that nicely wraps up the entire film.

To conclude, I did enjoy the film. It was entertaining, fast paced with a current theme (bio technology) and shot in historical Berlin. A city I was fortunately able to visit in 2001. I have fond memories of my stay there and this film was able to capture the vibrant essence of the German capital.

2 popcorn buckets:

witsandnuts said...

I can't wait to see this. He was brilliant in Taken!

Daphn3 LaurA said...

Yes "Taken" was Liam Neeson's baptism of fire as an action star. I'm sure you will also like his performance in this film.


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