For the past 15 years, Alice (Rachel Weisz) has lived plenty of lives – as a hippie, a nurse, and a magician’s assistant, among other identities. When she arrives at a dinner party in Brooklyn, though, she’s recognized by the guest of honor, Tom (Michael Shannon), who remembers her as his ex-girlfriend named Jenny. Over the course of the night, she gives him peaks into her life since he last saw her.
Complete Unknown takes a while to get going. The first real sparks come when Alice and Tom finally begin to confront each other, and explode in the film’s second half, as they take off from the party and get reacquainted during a night on the streets of New York City. While the larger ensemble in the first half is fine, getting Weisz and Shannon away from the rest of the cast gives the two plenty of room to work with each other. An extended sequence featuring Kathy Bates and Danny Glover as an older couple provides a welcome pair of actors to bounce off of Weisz and Shannon, but beyond that, the second half shows how well these two work together. Complete Unknown takes some patience, but the end results are worthwhile.