IMDb Rating: 6.2/10
R | 1h 30min | Thriller | 30 Jul 2020 (New Zealand) | Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 48% Rotten (Critic Reviews)
Director: Derrick Borte
Writer: Carl Ellsworth
Stars: Russell Crowe, Jimmi Simpson, Caren Pistorius
Movie Tagline: “He could happen to anyone”
IMDb summary: After a confrontation with an unstable man at an intersection, a woman becomes the target of his rage.
Written by Jeremy
One of the least amazing feelings when watching a film is knowing that it could have been so much more and then getting so much less from the experience. That is the case with Unhinged.
We all get road rage. Sitting in traffic and suddenly out of nowhere you get cut off or someone ahead of you doesn’t go through the green light. It’s damn annoying, but not exactly the “unhinged” level of annoying. At least not for most people.
Unhinged takes me back to 1993 and Falling Down. Yes, it’s a very different movie, but it’s probably the closest thing I could compare this to. While William Foster in Falling Down almost warrants his actions, Unhinged takes everything to another level. An unrealistic one? Maybe just a little.
Caren Pistorius plays Rachel Hunter, the mother who is always late for everything. She seems almost manically unorganised, which includes sleeping in past an alarm and losing a client that was important. Yes, she is having a bad day and because of her tardiness, her son Kyle, played by Gabriel Bateman, is late for school and facing detention. And this is where everything slowly goes drastically wrong for the Hunter family.
Next comes the worst-ever decision to take the freeway (motorway) when you’re already late for everything and just like that, Rachel and Kyle collide into Russell Crowe’s heavily set, southern villain.
When an actor of Russell Crowe’s calibre steps into a scene, you’re forced to pay attention. And unfortunately, everyone else fades into the background. Without sounding like a Russell Crowe fan-boy, it’s obvious who the acting talent is from the minute he’s on-screen. That’s not to say that Pistorius and Bateman don’t do a good job of playing the victims of “The Man’s” road-raging ways. It’s just he’s that much better, and it shows.
It starts with his expression. One you can’t forget. Then it’s his tone, that menacing sound of pure rage in his voice. Even though he’s perfectly fine to talk to at first, his tone reminds me of the phrase “calm like a bomb”. He is a juggernaut in this movie and he means business when he says he will make Rachel and her son understand “just what a bad day is”.
There’s a lot more violence than expected, which was surprising given the rating for this film is only R16 in New Zealand. It definitely helped to tell the story of “The Man’s” struggle with life and how he is just so far beyond caring about anything or anyone. A man that is happy to see the world burn.
With strategically placed action sequences, the pacing was fine. There are some over-the-top action scenes as well which you’ll probably raise an eyebrow at, but it’s nothing too ridiculous. It fits into the film and helps to capture the absolute mayhem that is happening to the Hunters.
This film could have been something special and instead ended up being something very mediocre. Russell Crowe’s villain was fun to watch, and you cannot ignore a man of his talent, even in a mediocre film.
Sometimes you don’t want the fairy-tale ending. Yes, we’re in dire straits and challenging times, and people are suffering the world over. But sometimes, things don’t go the way they should, and this film definitely could have done with a bit of risk-taking in that regard.
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Freelance entertainment writer and reviewer. Visit my blog on https://thebrokenquill.com.