Unhinged – Review

You’ve all been there before. Cruising down the street at a leisurely pace, minding your own business when someone in a truck much larger than pretty much anyone needs cuts you off. Obviously annoyed, you lay on the horn, giving them the warning that what they did just pissed you off. As you approach the next light you see it turning red. The awkward moment of sitting right next to the person you just honked at is about to happen. Should you look at them? Maybe just look straight and pretend it wasn’t you. After a second you decide to look up. Now imagine when you look, you come face to face with an angry, hulking, 300 pound Russell Crowe who now wants to murder you and everyone you know because of this very small insignificant situation. You are now living in the plot of Unhinged.

Unhinged does that interesting premise where they take an everyday situation that almost everyone can relate to, but crank the dial up to 11. Director Derrick Borte takes the idea of “catching the wrong guy on the wrong day” but instead of something small happening, Russell Crowe decides to take care of his issues with Purge level violence (which seems almost true with the lack of law enforcement for the majority of the film). This ridiculous premise works in a way that while unbelievable, the film is entertaining to watch because of the ridiculous levels it goes to.

 “I don’t think you know what a bad day is! But you’ll find out.”

Although over the top, Russell Crowe is the shining star of the film. He plays Tom Cooper, the unhinged man who really has a problem with horns and lawyers. While the character of Tom has absolutely zero redeeming qualities, Crowe makes it hard to look away when he is on screen. He gives off a Robert De Niro in Cape Fear level performance and is terrifying in every single sense of the word.

There is also the main character, who is the victim of Russell Crowe’s rage. Rachel, played by Caren Pistorius, is a newly single mother who is going through a divorce and taking care of her son. Both her and the actor who plays her son, Gabriel Bateman, do a fine job but also don’t have much to work with when it comes to the script. There is also the weird fact that she is only 14 years older than him in real life which makes you wonder why they wouldn’t make them siblings? Their mother/son relationship didn’t play a crucial role in the story and instead just made it very confusing at the start.

“Here’s your courtesy honk!”

The script and odd casting aren’t the worst issues though when it comes to Unhinged. The biggest glaring problem within the film is the complete lack of any subtlety. It was almost as if the screenwriter just learned about Chekhov’s Gun and wanted to make EVERY SINGLE THING be a setup and payoff regardless of how painfully obvious it was. Great films don’t need to handhold the audience throughout its entire runtime, making sure we know what they are doing. There are natural ways of setup/payoff and Unhinged does none of that.

While it’s not the perfect movie, Unhinged knows what it is enough to make it an entertaining watch. Russell Crowe carries the movie on his back and makes the character believable enough even with such an insane execution of it’s premise. Unhinged has its glaring faults while still being entertaining. If you want to head back into the life of movie theaters, there are definitely worse options than Unhinged that could be welcoming you back.

Overall Score 2.5/5


About the Author
Andy is a contributing writer on the Back Lot 605 team. Movies have always been a big part of his life but his biggest influence in his joy of movies comes from growing up around his step brother, who worked at a video store and wanted to be a director. This led to seeing a lot of dramas and John Wayne movies as a kid. Since then some of his favorite movies include Whiplash, Interstellar, Lord of the Rings, and Gladiator. There isn’t a single genre Andy doesn’t like, but he has a soft spot for Disney, romantic comedies, westerns, and dramas.
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