Film Review – Unhinged
It appears that there is a mad rush to be one of the first new films to be available to watch when movie theatres open in the US. Solstice Studios took advantage of the press around the reopenings, and its film, Unhinged, is the first film to have a wide release.
Unhinged means “highly disturbed, unstable, or distraught,” according to Merriam-Webster, and that definition accurately depicts Russell Crowe’s character, Tom Cooper, in the film. The opening scenes revolve around him, throwing caution to the wind and killing his soon-to-be ex-wife and whoever was in the house with her using a blunt object and setting the house on fire. This guy is hard to find, given they knew his name and what truck he was driving because he is still driving around the next day. There cannot be any preconceived notions that this guy is smart, more like angry with an ax to grind. He’s looking to take his anger and resentment out on the world, no matter who is in his path.
Unfortunately, Rachel (Caren Pistorius) and her son, Kyle (Gabriel Bateman), pick the wrong place and the wrong time for Rachel to honk her horn at a vehicle that didn’t move at a green light. That vehicle turns out to be Cooper’s truck. The Man follows the car and proceeds to have a conversation with Kyle, who makes an error in judgment by rolling down his window. All Cooper wants is an apology from Rachel for not being considerate and giving him a courtesy tap of the horn. Needless to say, Rachel doesn’t apologize, and the terrorizing begins.
Russell Crowe is playing a type of character we have not seen him take on before. He really became entrenched in this A-type personality, with his accent, the truck, and his appearance. He is polite initially until he is crossed by something so trivial that the majority of us would disregard the interaction or move on with our lives. Crowe is terrifying and relentless at Tom Cooper, someone who will stop at nothing for revenge and to make a point.
Unhinged borders on being a horror film, with its bloody violence and chaotic and remarkable death scenes. It pushes the envelope for films such as this, a constant game of cat and mouse. The level of violence is unexpected from the storyline, and I wonder if the audience paying to see it realizes what they are about to experience.
We currently live in a country with a raging pandemic, and those risking going to the theatre are probably looking for some escapism and normalcy. Unhinged does nothing of that sort and is one of those films that would have been better received had it come out pre-pandemic. Living in Texas and in the age of Karens and Kyles, Unhinged does not seem so far-fetched. Everyone is yelling at each other about masks and freedom, and the character of Tom Cooper can be easily seen in many filmed interactions between people yelling at each other or just common road rage incidents. Yes, the film takes this discourse to the extreme, but it is not enjoyable, to say the least. Had I not been reviewing it, I would have turned it off or walked out of the theatre. There is a time and a place for films like Unhinged, but this isn’t it.