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Persons Unknown

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Persons Unknown

Starring: Joe Mantegna, Kelly Lynch
Director: George Hickenlooper
Rated: NR
RunTime: 99 Minutes
Release Date: December 1996
Genre: Mystery

*Also starring: Naomi Watts, J.T. Walsh

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 unfinished.

Copyright 2003 Dragan Antulov

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