Unknown (2011) - Plot Summary Poster

(I) (2011)


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  • A man awakens from a coma, only to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one, (not even his wife), believes him. With the help of a young woman, he sets out to prove who he is.

  • A biochemist and his dishy wife arrive in Berlin for a conference at which a scientist and his controversial Arab funder will announce breakthrough research. While his wife checks into the hotel, he grabs a cab to return to the airport for his briefcase, left at the curb. En route, an auto accident puts him in a coma, from which he awakes four days later without identification and with gaps in his memory. He goes to the hotel: his wife refuses to recognize him and another man has claimed his identity. With help from a nurse, the cab driver, a retired Stasi agent, and an academic friend, he tries to unravel what's going on. Is the answer in the briefcase?

  • Dr. Martin Harris, an American Bio-technologist, arrives in Berlin with his wife, Elizabeth, to attend a biotechnology submit. On reaching the hotel he finds some of his luggage missing. He takes a cab back to the airport in order to locate the missing luggage, but before he can inform his wife the cab meets an accident and falls off a bridge into the river. The female driver of the cab, after rescuing him, flees from the scene. Dr. Harris is taken to a medical facility where he finally regains consciousness after spending four days in coma. After overcoming a bout of temporary amnesia, he soon remembers of his wife and the purpose of their visit to Berlin. He is suddenly overcome by a desperate urge to unite with his wife and he leaves the hospital immediately. On arriving at the hotel, he confronts the security to arrange for a meeting with his wife. To his dismay, he realizes that his identity has been taken by someone else as even Elizabeth refuses to recognize him. Now his only hope lies with the female cab driver who is the only witness to the accident that he had suffered. As he tries to unravel the mystery behind this collusive subterfuge, he must overcome not only those who have rendered him a pariah, but must also confront his own dark past.

  • Liam Neeson headlines this thriller about a prominent doctor on a business trip to Germany when he awakens from a coma to find that another man has stolen his identity and taken over his life. Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) has just arrived in Berlin to deliver an important presentation when he realizes that his briefcase has gone missing, and leaves his wife, Elizabeth (January Jones), at their hotel to try and retrieve it. During his cab ride back to the airport, however, a serious car accident lands Dr. Harris in the hospital, where he lies in a coma for four days. Upon awakening, Dr. Harris is horrified to discover that every relic of his identity has been completely erased. His shock is soon compounded when, upon seeking out his wife at a lavish party, another man (Aidan Quinn) appears by her side claiming to be the real Dr. Martin Harris, and requests that hotel security protect them from the unstable "imposter." Facing total denial from everyone he turns to, Dr. Harris gets a tip from a sympathetic nurse to seek out the assistance of Ernst Jürgen (Bruno Ganz), the former head of the German Secret Police, who implores him to track down Gina (Diane Kruger), the illegal immigrant taxi driver who narrowly saved his life, and may hold the answers to all of his questions. Now, the closer Dr. Harris gets to solving the mystery, the greater the danger becomes until the astonishing truth is revealed, plunging him into a desperate race against time.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) and his wife, Liz (January Jones), arrive in Berlin for a biotechnology conference where he is to give a paper. When they arrive at their hotel, also the site of the conference, Martin realizes he left his briefcase with their passports at the airport. While Liz checks in, he takes a cab to retrieve the briefcase. When a truck's cargo crashes into the road, the cab veers into the river. The cab driver, Gina (Diane Kruger), rescues him but disappears into the crowd when authorities arrive.

    Martin is in a coma for four days. When he revives, his memory is shaky. When he sees a television news report about the biotechnology conference, he remembers that he is supposed to be there. He checks himself out of the hospital and goes to the hotel. He sees Liz at a reception and goes to embrace her. But she claims not to know him and introduces everyone to her husband, who claims to be Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn).

    Martin wanders the streets of Berlin. He tracks down Gina, an illegal immigrant working several jobs. She doesn't want to help him because she risks deportation. Martin goes to meet Professor Bressler (Sebastian Koch), a German bioscientist with whom he had had phone calls about their plans to revolutionize food production. But when he arrives, Martin B is already there. After an argument, Martin is escorted out by police. He checks himself back into the hospital for more tests. One of the nurses gives him the name of a private detective. After one of the tests, a hit man kills the nurse and tries to abscond with Martin, but Martin disappears into the crowded emergency room and escapes.

    Martin goes to see the private detective, Ernst Jurgen (Bruno Ganz), a former Stasi officer. Jurgen believes Martin's story, and tells him to track down Gina again. He finds her and asks for a place to stay for the night, giving her a watch that Liz gave him on their anniversary. As he takes a shower, the hit man bursts in. Gina kills him with his own poison. As they escape in a borrowed cab, they are pursued by a second hit man. They elude him by hiding in a discotheque.

    Martin and Gina meet with Jurgen. He has a friend at the airport searching security camera footage for Martin, and has contacted Martin's colleague, Rodney Cole, who Martin is certain can help. Martin follows Liz to a photography exhibition. At first she pretends not to know him but pulls him aside to tell him that she is being forced to betray him and that she still loves him and will wait for him at the airport. When Martin B and the second hit man appear, Martin is barely able to escape with Gina.

    Rodney Cole (Frank Langella) arrives at Jurgen's office. Realizing who Cole really is, Jurgen takes cyanide rather than reveal what he knows. Martin and Gina retrieve the briefcase with the passports and thousands of euro in cash. Gina leaves Martin to wait at the airport. Cole arrives and takes Martin to a black van where he is tasered by the second hit man. Gina sees this and follows the black van in a stolen cab. Cole and the hit man take Martin to the top level of a deserted parking garage. Cole explains to Martin that he is really a government assassin using "Martin Harris" as a cover. When Martin woke up from the post-accident coma, he believed his cover story was the truth, so Martin B was called in to finish the mission. Before the second hit man can kill Martin, Gina crushes him between the van and cab; the impact sends the van, with Cole in it, crashing to the ground below.

    Martin now remembers everything. Several months earlier he and Liz had gone to the hotel to plant a bomb. It would be used to kill Bressler in a manner that could be blamed on Muslim extremists opposed to the liberalizing plans of Prince Shada (Miro Hamada), who is also sponsoring the biotechnology conference. He and Gina race to the hotel. There, at a reception for Bressler, Liz copies the files containing information about a new, easily grown form of corn, and arms the bomb. Martin arrives in time and persuades hotel security that a bomb is about to go off. When security evacuates the hotel, Liz goes to disarm the bomb while Martin B follows Bressler in order to kill him. Liz fails and is obliterated in the explosion. Martin and Martin B fight amidst the debris as Gina watches. Martin kills Martin B with a glass shard.

    The next day, Bressler and Prince Shada freely give their new corn to the world, in their mutual effort to end world hunger. Using additional fake passports found in his briefcase, Martin and Gina leave Berlin together, as Henry and Claudia Taylor.

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