Review by Dragan Antulov|
1½ stars out of 4
When someone that looks like Joe Average manages to sweep a
beautiful blonde, things are usually not as they seem. Protagonist of
PERSONS UNKNOWN, 1996 thriller directed by George
Hickenlooper, is one of those people who didn't pay attention to this
prosaic fact of life. Jim Holland (played by Joe Mantegna) is an ex-
policeman who now works as security expert. After passionate one-
night stand with beautiful Amanda (played by Kelly Lynch) he
notices that the files containing information about some of his clients'
security codes have been looked upon. He immediately decides to
investigate this matter and turns into one-man surveillance team.
Following Amanda, he discovers that she plans to steal money from
Columbian drug dealers. Along the way, Jim also finds that he is less
intrigued by the Amanda or heist and more by Amanda's beautiful
and wheelchair-bound sister Molly (played by Naomi Watts).
George Hickenlooper, just like in his 1993 film THE KILLING BOX,
shows that he likes movies that put bizarre twists into conventional
genre plots. In this case, script by Craig Smith provides unusual
romance between world-weary former policeman and crippled
woman. Both roles are played very well and Naomi Watts in this
early part of her career shows that she can handle even the most
complex and unusual roles. However, this romance seems to be the
only original element of the script. In everything else, PERSONS
UNKNOWN is drowned in cliches - crazed killers, drug money and
big "surprise" when protagonist's best friend, who just happens to be
played by of J.T. Walsh, has some sinister motives of his own.
Hickenlooper's direction also leaves something to be desired, mostly
because of too much light in the film that otherwise belong to noir.
Although the relative obscurity of this film is not completely justified,
PERSONS UNKNOWN leaves unpleasant impression of being
Copyright © 2003 Dragan Antulov