Director: Derrick Borte
Starring: Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson, Austin P. McKenzie
Run Time: 93 mins
Unhinged is the first notable theatrical release to come into UK cinemas since they have partially reopened after the Coronavirus lockdown. Directed by Derrick Borte, it tells the story of Rachel, a young, recently divorced mother who is terrorised by Tom Cooper, a mentally deranged stranger, after a road rage incident between the two. Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorius play the duo, Crowe putting on a significant amount of weight to fit the macho and aggressive nature of Tom. The film opens with Crowe coolly walking into his ex-wife’s house, brutally slaughtering her and her boyfriend with a hammer. This is a very effective opening as we know we’re in for trouble straightaway as an audience!
Unhinged is surprisingly far better than this type of film ought to be and it goes surprisingly far in terms of its violence and subject matter in how Tom terrorises Rachel. She is sent to hell and back with Tom’s torment and he is unrelenting in dishing out his revenge, satisfying his moral righteousness and ethic high ground.
Both Crowe and Pistorius are excellent in the lead roles, Crowe suitably revelling in the role. It is great to see Caren Pistorius in a lead role, after she impressed in Slow West back in 2014 and has only really taken smaller supporting roles since then. She is more than up for the challenge and the film develops her character very well at the start so that when the inciting incident of her meeting Crowe’s character occurs, as an audience we can more than empathise with her life situation.
Perhaps rather unsurprisingly for a film of this type, Unhinged falters in its plausibility. There are multiple instances in the beginning where you think surely the relevant authorities would have captured and arrested Tom but you just have to get on board that the film is going to defy logic somewhat and go with it.
Ultimately, Unhinged is far better than this type of film ought to have been and despite its success is undeniably further heightened by its opportunist release date, in that cinema audiences haven’t had anything else new to watch on the big screen for a while, exceeds expectations in what UK cinema’s real comeback film should be. It’s a big, dumb blast from start to finish.
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