Wednesday 27 April 2011


(Jaume Collet-Serra, 2011)

Part 2 of Liam Neeson laying waste to Old Europe, in other words. Here, instead of the invulnerable super warrior he played in the simplistic but enjoyable Taken, he plays a Scientist whose life seems to have been stolen from him while in Berlin for a Conference. Only it's all far more Twisty-turny than that. Directed with stylishly brisk efficiency by Serra but essentially soulless, most of the cast play comfortably to type: January Jones as an Ice Queen and Aidan Quinn as a slimily ambiguous antagonist, for example, with Diane Kruger registering surprisingly well as a Bosnian Immigrant Cab Driver who aids Neeson.
There are a couple of decent set-pieces (Serra is a solid craftsman and in a couple of his earlier films; notably Orphan and even Goal 2, has shown that he possesses am unusually fine eye) and it puts a Bourne-style location , Berlin in Winter, to atmospheric use, but really it's all too cold and anonymous to have much impact. The exception is a scene in the final act between the two old pros in supporting roles, Bruno Ganz and Frank Langella, which seems almost to have been edited in from a different film entirely. It's a scene of quiet confrontation, completely told in dialogue, full of retreat and acceptance of mortality, and thrillingly acted by both men. It's a shame the rest of the film doesn't have the same sensibility.

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