Complete Unknown

Tom’s birthday dinner party is turned upside down by the unexpected arrival of Alice, an old flame who changed her identity and vanished without a trace 15 years prior.

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  • ★★★★ review by Tim Burnham on Letterboxd

    A stripped down, real life walk-and-talk version of every exciting and disbelief-suspending girl goes missing thriller.  This film takes away everything that other films might gravitate towards to craft suspense and instead focuses on the girl doing the disappearing.

    It's a sleight character study about an incomplete woman looking to fill in the pieces and understand herself.  She does this by shedding identities when they no longer fit and when the lives she concocts threaten to suffocate her and starting anew. Her character comes across as cold and pathological when in fact she is the truest essence of every dissatisfied person existing through an unfulfilling life.  Her life is purely dedicated to unearthing her true nature.

    And that's all quite fascinating, there's a lot to unpack and explore there, except that this film takes place on a single night where she attempts to maintain her new self while backtracking to visit a man from one of her earliest selves.

    Since the film only examines one night (other than a carefully monitored exposition dump throughout), it is difficult to say how effective the material is covered and how fulfilling this is as a singular piece of work.  It's certainly fascinating and Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon do great work in this controlled and tasteful drama, but at 92 minutes, and with such a complex idea and compelling character, it feels somewhat underwhelming.

    I do appreciate Shannon's role in this, as a vision of a sort of alternate future for Weisz.  They were at one point together and he certainly isn't fulfilled in his life.  I also appreciate how the film chooses to end in regards to his character versus hers.

    I'll leave to there to avoid spoilers on the climax but just reiterate in closing that this really isn't a thriller.  It's a slowly unraveling mystery on the surface, an existential character drama underneath, and a fascinating conversation piece all crammed into a very fleet-footed hour and a half runtime.

  • ★★★½ review by Jonathan Rosenbaum on Letterboxd

    Fascinating variant on Isak Dinesen's "The Dreamers" (uncredited).

  • ★★★★ review by Keith Garrett on Letterboxd

    An engaging experience with a genuinely interesting premise, but I do wish it delved just a little bit deeper. Still better than most, thanks to great performances by the always reliable Weisz and Shannon.

  • ★★★★ review by Adrienne on Letterboxd

    A beautiful, minimal portrayal of relationships and a person's sense of self.

  • ★★★★½ review by SADIE on Letterboxd

    I'm sure this isn't perfect, but I've thought of running away like this so many times, almost done it a few times. Maybe it was special seeing what could have been, in a sense, in a world parallel to ours.

    Plus I love Michael Shannon and Rachel Weisz a lot.

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