Complete Unknown

Director: Joshua Marston
Screenwriters: Joshua Marston, Julian Sheppard

Institute History

  • 2016 Sundance Film Festival


When Tom (Michael Shannon) and his wife host a dinner party to celebrate his birthday, one of their guests brings an intriguing date named Alice (Rachel Weisz). Tom is convinced he knows her, but she refuses to acknowledge their past history. When Alice makes a hasty exit, Tom follows her down the rabbit hole and into the night, where they explore the freedom to shed one’s skin in the anonymity of the big city. What ensues is an all-night odyssey with two characters, one needing to make a change in his life, the other questioning how to stop changing.

Director and co-writer Joshua Marston, whose debut, Maria Full of Grace, won the Audience Award at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, returns with another fascinating character study. Marston elicits nuanced performances from Shannon and Weisz, as well as an outstanding ensemble cast (including Kathy Bates, Danny Glover, Azita Ghanizada, and Michael Chernus). By turns mysterious, dramatic, and absurdly comic, Complete Unknown is a shape-shifting film about the perils and pleasures of self-reinvention.

— Matt Cornell

Screening Details

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