Unhinged is a 2020 action thriller film starring Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman and Jimmi Simpson. The film tells the story of a young woman who is terrorized by a stranger following a road rage incident.
Unhinged follows a single mother whose bad day gets even worse after a flippant exchange with a fellow driver. It doesn’t take long for her to realise that the man is following her and what was an initial case of road rage, soon escalates into something much more terrifying. Plot wise, Unhinged doesn’t overcomplicate things and the cat and mouse dynamic, between the mentally unstable stranger Tom Cooper and lead character Rachel, works well.
The film is basically built on a seemingly minute encounter and develops as a result of the mentally unstable stranger’s mysterious motive. It’s simple, yet effective and I really like the concept of you never really knowing what is going on in someone’s own mind; it feels realistic and offers a lot of food for thought. After watching Unhinged, I’ll definitely be refraining from using my horn as often when driving!
Russell Crowe is almost unrecognisable as the heavy-set, mentally ill stranger, Tom Cooper and the character is fascinatingly terrifying. Russell Crowe is totally convincing as the mentally unstable stranger and I feel like it’s a persona that he manages to pull off with ease. It’s a shame that the only emotions we see from the character are anger and rage and, in all honesty, I was disappointed that the film never really delved into why the character was mentally unstable in the first place.
There are a few generic comments which are left to the imagination as to why the stranger is going about this hellbent rampage, but the film fails to provide the audience with any backstory for the character. Delving a little deeper into the character could have allowed the audience to somewhat sympathise with the stranger, however as a result, the only emotion we feel towards him is terror.
Caren Pistorius plays the terrorised lead character Rachel and is very convincing as a terrified victim. Her character is a little annoying at times, making all of the classic movie mistakes such as leaving her mobile in her car whilst she goes into a gas station, but Caren Pistorius brings a nicely balanced like-ability to the character. Again, the way in which her character reacts and the emotions evoked felt like very realistic reactions to the situation.
As the film never really delves any deeper into its spiky premise, the main focus of the film is on its action sequences. There’s a sense of unpredictability to the mentally unstable stranger and this constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat and combined with the fast pace to the film, I never found myself losing attention. The action itself is enjoyable, albeit nothing we haven’t already seen before, but does become a little ridiculous as the film progresses. Despite this, these intense action sequences provide for some of the best moments in the film.
For the most part, Unhinged’s suspense filled action sequences will have you on the edge of your seat, but it sorely lacks any real depth.