Unhinged: Before I saw this, I thought the premise was ridiculous and well-worn. After all, how many road rage movies can there be? Or can Russell Crowe actually bring something different to the steering wheel?
So, I figured I’d give him a chance.
We learn at the start just how off the rails Crowe’s character is – who’s simply referred to, unnamed, in the credits as ‘Man’ – when he smashes into a house with a hammer, ready to burn it down. Yep, that’s pretty unhinged.
The next day, while single mum Rachel (Caren Pistorius) is struggling to get her son, Kyle (Gabriel Bateman), to school on time, the truck in front won’t move when the lights are green, so she beeps her horn. Alas, Mr Crowe is in the truck… and he doesn’t like this. Now, we’ve all come across road rage from time to time, but what I’ve found is that one of the plus sides about getting older is that you learn just let all the idiots go their own way, so they stop annoying you.
Naturally, before long, she comes across him again and it all leads to some violence, which starts off reasonably enough for the average mainstream film, but then there comes a point where there’s an obscene level of one-sided violence against women, making me amazed this is not an 18-certificate. Usually, such a film will only become a 15-cert if the injured woman or women are someone who’s trying to kill the man, like hitwoman Ruth in Sean Penn’s The Gunman. That makes Unhinged quite a distasteful movie.
In fact, I have an aversion to tertiary characters of either sex being killed off when they’re just brought in to be bumped off, since none of it was their fault, so to see a whole slew of that is pretty grim, and starts to give me a headache. I get that some films use that aspect to a degree, but just to rely on it to beef up a number of scenes as a trope is rather galling.
As an aside, early on, there’s an altercation with Crowe’s character in a diner which leads to excessive violence, where everyone else just sits by, some taking out their mobile phone to film the situation. Given that it’s America, I’m surprised there wasn’t a single individual with a gun who’d quickly whip it out and train it on him. The man would be dead within seconds.
With Unhinged, what starts like a silly ’90s thriller, such as Unlawful Entry, with some decent car crashes and auto-wrecks, eventually seeing director Derrick Borte and screenwriter Carl Ellsworth taking leave of their senses…
I do enjoy the occasional slasher thriller, but at least they’re not meant to be set in any form of reality.
Also it’s pretty rare that I don’t give a film a numerical score, but there’s only one word to describe what’s going on here. Your mileage may vary.
Extras-wise, there’s just two: a featurette entitled This Side Of Rage (27:11), in which key cast and crew members talk about working on the film and what brought it to the screen whilst mixed in with clips from the film, and an Audio Commentary with director Derrick Borte, cinematographer Brendan Galvin, production designer Frederick Waff and costume designer Denise Wingate.
The menu features clips from the film set to a piece of the incidental music, subtitles are in English only, and there’s a ridiculously few NINE chapters! Also, there are a few trailers before the film, as if we’re still in the age of rental video.
Running time: 91 minutes
Distributor: Altitude Films
Released: November 23rd 2020
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Widescreen: 2.39:1 (X-OCN ST (4K))
Disc Format: BD50
|OVERALL||Not a film I can recommend, for obvious reasons.|
Director: Derrick Borte
Producers: Lisa Ellzey, Mark Gill, Andrew Gunn
Screenplay: Carl Ellsworth
Music: David Buckley
Man: Russell Crowe
Rachel: Caren Pistorius
Kyle: Gabriel Bateman
Andy: Jimmi Simpson
Fred: Austin P McKenzie
Mary: Juliene Joyner
Leo: Stephen Louis Grush
Deborah: Anne Leighton
Mrs. Ayers: Devyn Tyler
Teacher: Sylvia Grace Crim
Rosie: Lucy Faust
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.