Complete Unknown Movie Review

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This isn’t one that I knew all about coming into the movie. In fact, I knew just about nothing other than that Michael Shannon was the male lead, which is typically a good sign for me. I also like Rachel Weisz even though her movies don’t always blow me away. I read the premise and that this movie was a mystery, so I was interested in checking out Complete Unknown. I don’t have much else to say about what I was expecting, so let’s just talk about the movie!

Complete Unknown is directed by Joshua Marston and stars Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon. After his wife announces that she is moving to California for graduate school, Tom, played by Shannon, has to decide whether he wants to go with her or not. When an old friend pops back up in his life at his birthday party, he is more confused than ever. His old friend, played by Weisz, also carries a lot of mystery and intrigue with her, causing him to look deeper into what she has been up to over the past few years.

As I said, I typically love everything from Michael Shannon. I even like Man of Steel. I really liked Michael Shannon in this role. I thought that he gave another excellent performance, and though I definitely don’t think that it was the most challenging character Shannon has had to inhabit, he was still amazing in this movie, and he just proves why so many people look at him as one of the most talented actors in the business. He killed it earlier this year in Midnight Special, which I think is one of the year’s best movies, and he does it again in Complete Unknown. I actually didn’t get to see Elvis & Nixon, but I definitely plan to before the end of the year. I also thought that Rachel Weisz was very good. Even though she does not always appear in movies I love, I think she is a good actress, so I was glad to see her continue down that path in this movie. Finally, I want to point out that I think Joshua Marston does a good job with the camera and direction through visual storytelling. The way that this movie visually communicated emotion and important ideas was really impressive, and I’d love to see him take on another film especially if it means he gets to work with a cast of this caliber again.

I don’t have a list of negatives with this movie, but I’m just going to say that I didn’t find this movie particularly interesting. I think it had potential, but I didn’t think that the story or the characters were very interesting, and I found that I spent a lot of the movie thinking that one character was doing some irrational things to escape her life, but I just didn’t find her stories or her past interesting in the same way that the characters she interacted with did. They seemed to find her so interesting and different, and I didn’t. There are a couple good moments when she breaks through to Michael Shannon’s character, but other than that, Complete Unknown fell pretty flat for me as far as mysteries go. It just became peculiar as compared to interesting.

Overall, I think that artistically and talent-wise, this movie is a fine movie. Michael Shannon and Rachel Weisz are both great. If you look at the cast and see that Kathy Bates and Danny Glover are in this movie, I wouldn’t get too excited to see them just because they aren’t very pivotal, and they don’t spend much time in the movie. They were kind of unnecessary. I think any two other actors would have done the trick. Even in their brief appearance, it was still about Michael Shannon’s character having a breakthrough. My main problem with this film was that I just didn’t think it was very interesting. It’s that simple. This isn’t a bad movie, but it didn’t catch my attention, and spent too long introducing the story for me to actually become emotionally invested. I’m going to give Complete Unknown a 5/10.

Will you be headed out to see Complete Unknown this weekend? It will open exclusively at Harkins Shea tomorrow, so if you would like to check it out, please let me know! Also out this week are Morgan, which I reviewed already, and The Light Between Oceans, which I’m actually very excited to see. If you would like to check out my review for Morgan, you can click right HERE, and my review for The Light Between Oceans will be out this weekend! Next week I’ll have reviews for Sully and the newest iteration of Fatal Attraction called When the Bough Breaks, so be sure to stay tuned for those, and as always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

PHOTO: Teaser Trailer

About Justin Lyons

Hey, it’s Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm