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Unhinged – Movie Review

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Unhinged – Movie Review

Rating: D+ (Bad)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy VVS Films

There is always a place for simple B-movie thrillers that exist just to excite the audience with their violence. Unhinged definitely aims for a schlocky approach as we follow the lead protagonist Rachel and her complication with an angry driver. The film shows promise when Russell Crowe enters the scene and there is a rooting interest in Rachel making it out of this ordeal alive. However, the movie gets more and more ridiculous as it plays on and ultimately descends into a parade of senseless violence and schlocky moments. The potential to thrill and pump the adrenaline is there, but Unhinged can’t quite sustain itself even during the 90 minute runtime.

The movie isn’t interested in giving the characters a deep back story, but that’s actually okay. All we know is that Crowe’s unnamed Man has anger issues and Rachel is a mother who just wants to make it through the day. When Crowe first starts reciting his dialogue, it’s difficult not to smile at his over-the-top Southern accent. Throughout the film, he does give the role the level of anger and maliciousness required. This is definitely a villain one can root against as he goes to absurd lengths to mess with Rachel. His motivation is a bizarre one, though, and it does come to a point where one asks “what is your deal?” His determination makes one think the man doesn’t have a day job.

Rachel is immediately sympathetic, though. The viewer does feel for her when Crowe starts terrorizing her and Caren Pistorius provides solid work. There is one very tense scene early on when one isn’t sure when Crowe is about to turn a corner and the stunt driving is consistently on-point throughout the movie. It’s disappointing the rest of Unhinged doesn’t quite reach that level of suspense again. There reaches a point where it takes a turn towards over-the-top gore and mayhem. Even for this sort of film, it becomes a little too much. When things are taken to such an extreme level, is it possible to take the scenario seriously?

Crowe eventually turns into an unstoppable machine and the overuse of mobile devices does affect the overall storytelling. Unhinged becomes rather gruesome in its many scenes and even the car chases eventually go in a wild direction with constant crashes and sequences where vehicles are crushed. The earlier portions of Unhinged don’t exactly promise a realistic piece of cinema, but there is still a degree of uncertainty about what Crowe has planned. Anyone on the road feels some unease at being seemingly followed by another car. The movie could have clung to that concept, instead of Crowe’s strange revenge plot.

Those looking for something schlocky and ludicrous will find some of that in Unhinged. And admittedly, those thrills are done somewhat effectively during the movie’s early scenes. However, the movie does run out of steam after a while as Russell Crowe becomes more obsessive and maniacal in its actions. The film does provide a “turn off your brain” distraction for those who want to return to the theatre and watch something mindless. There is always room for something like that, especially in times when we could all take a break. One just wishes Unhinged had continued with its cat-and-mouse premise rather than going off into gratuitous gore and nonsense.

Stefan Ellison

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