Complete Unknown, starring Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon, is directed by Joshua Marston and distributed by Amazon Studios and IFC Films. I received a screening link from IFC.


I rather enjoyed this film. While the mystery is solved for the viewer rather quickly and the plot is a bit slight, the performances are top-notch. A coworker brings a date to a friend’s birthday party and at first they are all smitten with the lovely and witty Alice (Weisz). Only the birthday boy Tom (Shannon) seems less than impressed and it soon becomes clear why he is so nonplussed by her charming anecdotes. Tom knows that Alice is not who she appears to be, something the audience has already been clued into by the opening montage of Weisz in different guises and occupations.

As the party continues and Alice’s lies start to unravel the rest of the guests turn on her and demand answers. Alice makes a hasty retreat, but Tom follows her out into the street and continues to follow her through much of the night as he tries to understand how someone could just pick up and leave everything and everyone behind.

The film doesn’t really answer that question and the story comes to an ambiguous end, which I found strangely satisfying despite its lack of definitive conclusions. I’ve often fantasized about what it might be like to just pick up and move somewhere exotic, perhaps not going quite so far as to change my name and never speak to my friends or family again.

I enjoyed Complete Unknown. I liked the chemistry between the two leads and I found the film visually gorgeous to look at. Even small parts are played by acting greats such as Kathy Bates and Danny Glover. Brief glimpses of Weisz in her various personae left me wanting more, but with a scant 90-minute running time, brief glimpses and unanswered questions are all you get.

Complete Unknown has a release date of August 26, 2016 and will open in Baltimore at the Charles Theater on Friday, September 9, 2016.