Sunday 15 January 2023

Movie Review: Unhinged (2020)

Genre: Action Thriller
Director: Derrick Borte
Starring: Russell Crowe, Karen Pistorius
Running Time: 93 minutes

Synopsis: Disgruntled and depressed after losing his job and marriage, middle-aged Tom Cooper (Russell Crowe) kills his ex-wife and her new husband and sets their house on fire. Separately, Rachel Flynn (Caren Pistorius) is a harried mother to young teen Kyle (Gabriel Bateman), and going through a divorce of her own. Late to drop off Kyle at school, Rachel honks at Tom at a traffic light, and refuses to apologize. He is triggered into a violent rage, determined to make Rachel's life a living hell.

What Works Well: A mash-up of Falling Down, Duel, and The Hitcher, Unhinged is disturbingly good. Russell Crowe embodies the role with creepy menace, and director Derrick Borte captures a man monster at the end of his rope, ready to unleash his anger on an uncaring society, consequences be damned. Rachel's honk and unapologetic attitude break him loose from any remaining anchors, and the road rage triggered carnage builds impressive momentum. Borte mixes well-staged high energy road chase scenes with more personal violence directed at Rachel's life, with Caren Pistorius excellent as the much-less-than-perfect mom forced to become the ultimate mama bear.

What Does Not Work As Well: The traffic is conveniently gridlocked or free-flowing, according to the whims of the script, and Rachel bounces back from substantive blows delivered by a much bigger brute.

Conclusion: Disconcertingly easy to imagine, Unhinged forcefully exposes cracks threatening civility's foundations.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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