A man wakes up in the hospital with amnesia after being shot in the head. He's told that his family has been murdered in the incident that left him nearly dead. He discovers he used to be in the Serbian special forces, or—more bluntly—an assassin.
This isn't an auspicious start for the Fourth Man. The "guy wakes up from a coma with amnesia" plot has been done a lot, and it obviously invites comparison to the Bourne Identity. Good news: this Serbian thriller is a surprisingly dark, grim, and violent tale that uses the same tired beginning but isn't the same kind of movie at all.
The wounded major (Nikola Kojo) awakens with no memories but jagged flashbacks of violence he can't really recall. He's visited by a man that claims to be his former colonel and best friend (Bogdan Diklic). Another visitor (Dragan Petrovic Pele) claims to be a cop, and says that the investigation into the major's wife and son's murders has been put on hold by someone in power. He offers to reveal information to the major, but only in exchange for his help in investigating some targets.
Of course, the major isn't much of an investigator. He's a killer. He begins to wonder who's playing him but he doesn't even know who he is, and he's not sure that anyone is being honest with him. Why is everyone hiding his past? As he begins to unravel what happened will he find that he was a good man or a monster?
Nikola Kojo is excellent in his role as the scarred major. He brings a sad but dead-eyed coolness to the role, at times slightly bewildered but often chilling. It's easy to believe that he's capable of shooting someone in cold blood. He's the most effectively cast assassin I've seen in a long time.
In addition to being a slickly plotted and shot thriller, The Fourth Man is tightly bound to some very serious Serbian issues that add a stark horror and sorrow to the film and elevate it beyond being just a piece of violent entertainment. These issues aren't treated as mere plot points and there's some stuff that's not a joy to watch that happens over the course of the film. It's hard to say more without spoilers.
Don't go into the Fourth Man expecting a Bourne-style action film, and if it sounds interesting don't try to read much about it; just check it out. It's a very good film that deserves a look from more people outside of Serbia.