Five men wake up in an abandoned chemical plant. Several have been beaten and one has been shot. One is in handcuffs, another tied to a chair. And none of them has any idea who he is or how he got there.
It's easy to see how "Unknown," the first feature for director Simon Brand and writer Matthew Waynee, got made: a clever premise, a single (read: cheap) location and a puzzle-box plot reminiscent of "Memento" and "Reservoir Dogs." What's harder to fathom is why such actors as Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper and Joe Pantoliano signed on to a script that offers them little to do apart from barking expletives at each other.
The first to awaken from his mysterious sleep is Jim Caviezel (whose character is identified in the credits as "Jean Jacket"), who heads for the nearest bathroom mirror and screams at his reflection, "Who am I?" It is, unfortunately, a question "Unknown" never answers. The characters remain as blank as the placeholders in a child's brainteaser. (Hint: None of them turns out to be a goldfish.)
The movie's disinterest in character might be forgivable were its plot not riddled with holes. Did the mysterious chemical that erased the men's memories also dissolve their driver's licenses? What kind of newspaper prints a kidnapping story without pictures of the victims?