Jacob Richardson | 18/08/2020
Unhinged isn’t a good film, but for a schmaltzy and poorly written farce, it is bloody entertaining.
Karen (Rachel Pistorius) has had a rough couple of months - losing her hairdressing salon, and going through a messy separation with her husband. Waking up late one morning, she rushes to get her son off to school, and in the process loses one of her few remaining salon clients. Caught in this bad day, she leans heavily on the horn of her car to prompt an unmoving SUV in front of her at a green light. Little does she know that the man in this car (Russel Crowe - only credited as The Man) is about to make her day a whole lot worse.
The first thing to note about Unhinged is that Russel Crowe is head and shoulders above everybody else on display. As a hulking, menacing and wildly OTT presence, he dominates every scene he is in, as does his absence when he is not on screen. He kicks things into a whole other notch when he swears across traffic at Rachel, and things just escalate from there. The remainder of the cast is OK, dealing admirably with a script that is at times cliche and at others laughably average, but cannot compete with the sheer dominating presence of Russel.
Director Derrick Borte does a tremendous job of walking the fine line between a farcical array of cliched revenge thriller tropes and shocking and refreshing pieces of plot diversion. Unhinged will, inevitably, wind up surprising you - frequently and often. Right when you think it is going to zig right, it zags left, and Borte should be commended for creating such suspense and refreshing unpredictability. In a film that otherwise feels like it could be any number of revenge thrillers, it is this unpredictability that retains your interest.
Unhinged isn’t a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. The script is grossly cliche, and the exposition and foreshadowing laid on about as thick as can be imagined. But then again, it isn’t designed as a piece of compelling arthouse cinema. Unhinged is designed to be watched with a couple of buddies, cheering each new ridiculous death, car crash or one-liner. It’s a movie solely designed to entertain, with no hidden meaning. It wears its heart on its sleeve, and in doing so redeems itself. Despite the sudden bursts of hyper-violence, the gross overreaction of Russel Crowe’s character, or the sudden and surprising turns out of left field, perhaps the most shocking thing about Unhinged is that it will stay with you long after you leave the cinema.
Unhinged is a one-liner filled revenge thriller that uses an on-form Russel Crowe to create a cheer-inducing time at the cinema.