Russell Crowe gives an absolutely terrifying performance in Unhinged. The film is a high-octane, single day thriller, but there are times when Derrick Borte’s movie is a straight-up horror because of Crowe. As the story’s antagonist Tom Cooper, Crowe ditches his inhibitions. He’s purposely underdeveloped to build an aura of mystery and terror. The audience is given minor clues of who Tom could be, but he still resembles a stranger; someone who could break under pressure at any given time due to high tensions in an apathetic society.
This touches on the main point driving the suspense in Unhinged. From the film’s opening montage of video footage (most of it assumably real) of violent confrontations to the final act of Crowe’s latest victim (a mother he has a heated exchange with at a stoplight) strategizing a way to confront her stalker, Unhinged blends the line between topical content and exploitation entertainment. The film is meant to be enjoyed as a series of cheap thrills, but Unhinged is also supposed to provoke us, shock us, and startle us; drawing reactionary parallels to this year’s challenging satire The Hunt.
Movie goers can expect exciting action sequences with excellent traditional set pieces involving practical car chases and natural atmospheric tension, jaw-dropping fatalities, and terrific performances (most notably by Caren Pistorius as the mother in pursuit and Jimmi Simpson as her amicable divorce lawyer) that compliment the film’s agreeable logic – aspects that have been missing from recent thrillers.
Whether you see Unhinged in theatres or during its home release, you will not be disappointed. This is one awesome movie.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie