Rachel Weisz

Rachel Weisz

“COMPLETE UNKNOWN”  My rating: B (Opens Sept. 9 at the Tivoli)

90 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Some films dole out facts.

Others, like “Complete Unknown,” trade in mood.

Joshua Marston’s film isn’t a thriller exactly…more like a character study…except that’s not quite right either, since the main character of Martson‘s screenplay (written with Julian Sheppard) is a sort of human chameleon.

In a brilliantly assembled opening sequence we see a woman (Rachel Weisz) in a variety of situations. She’s a grad student renting an apartment. A magician‘s assistant in what appears to be China. An E.R. nurse.

The woman is Alice (at least that’s her current name) and we slowly realize that she is a master imposter, someone who every few months or years changes her identity, personality and career.

It isn’t like Alice is antisocial. She’s witty, charming, entertaining, and has terrific stories about the various jobs she’s held all over the world.

Now she shows up at a dinner party as the date of Clyde (Michael Chernus), a schlubby government paper pusher and colleague of Tom (Michael Shannon), whose birthday is being celebrated.

Tom immediately realizes that this woman calling herself Alice is in fact Jenny, with whom he was living when she vanished 15 years earlier. Tom is now married (though that union is shaky). Nevertheless Alice/Jenny has befriended Clyde precisely so she can reconnect with her old flame Tom.

“You were the last person who really knew me before I left,” she explains.


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