Complete Unknown is an intriguing psychological drama, a thriller that examines its characters without a series of dramatic or jarring elements. Director Joshua Marston sets up an exciting film that relies on its limited locations and tense, dialogue driven sequences. It’s a brilliant character piece, a thinking man’s Gone Girl of sorts, that benefits from two fantastic performances from its two leads.
On the eve of his birthday, Tom (Michael Shannon) invites his friends to a party, while finding a surprise return from a mysterious woman from his past (Rahcel Weisz). While Shannon is known for playing eccentric and bizarre characters, he is surprisingly effective as the straight man, giving a restrained and controlled performance. To match him, Rachel Weisz gives one of the best performances of her career with a multifaceted and slightly psychotic performance that is subtle in the best of ways.
Complete Unknown is a slow burn, and doesn’t have any huge twist moments or shocking revelations. It’s a meticulous, engaging story that succeeds in peering into the minds of its characters without spelling out an exact answer. The film doesn’t take the easy path, and all credit to it for pushing the boundaries of storytelling while reigning in a remarkable script. Grade: -A