Hello Interwebs! I have a bonus article for you this week. This is a review of the relatively new film Unhinged. Read ahead to see my thoughts. No spoilers, I promise. I’ll barely even get into the plot (not that there’s much to spoil, but still).
I’m gonna be honest: I had little desire to watch Unhinged. I’m a bit of a film snob (except for certain genres) and this one didn’t appear to be worth my time. Early reviews were also unflattering, to say the least, which didn’t help my mindset. My family, however, wanted to see it (if only because we already watched Tenet and there isn’t much else out right now). So here we are.
To my surprise, Unhinged started decently. The first scene was creepy and grabbed my attention. Actually, most of the first act was alright. I thought the characters were well introduced and the main conflict was largely believable (though some suspension of disbelief is required, of course). That said, my goodwill had largely faded by the end. I don’t know exactly when, but somewhere in the middle I stopped caring.
So, the film having a protagonist I didn’t root for was one problem, but the plot was another misfire. I actually love the premise for Unhinged and think it could have worked extremely well as a short film (maybe in the 40 minute range). Unfortunately, the plot of this story is spread thin, even at an hour and a half run-time. There were a few twists (some of which I feel the trailer spoiled, by the way) I liked. The problem is that there’s only one type of obstacle to overcome. Imagine a sports game where one team keeps trying to score by using basically the same strategy the entire match. It might be cool at first and even get the team some points, but once you notice the pattern it becomes dull to watch. Eventually the other team will pick up on the strategy too, and by that point they’ll have seen it enough times to counter. This film plays out in a similar way. After one or two shocks it becomes completely predictable.
For me there were two huge problems which derailed my investment the most: the protagonist and the plot. Let’s start with the protagonist, Rachel (played by Caren Pistorius). She was sorta unlikable. Pistorius portrayed her well, and I appreciate that the character was written with many flaws and lessons to learn, but Rachel was a little too flawed. It’s not that Rachel is a bad human being so much as the movie presents her with few redeeming qualities. The one thing we know she’s OK at is being a caring mother. Everything else– well, let’s just say she’s a bit of a mess (and not even in a way where you want to pity her). Thing is: being a loving parent isn’t enough to make me like you. Some people might argue that the events of the film could have been avoided altogether if Rachel was a nicer person. This is a partially true accusation, but it’s also the entire point of the story. I’ll get to that “point” later, ’cause I want to discuss other things first.
Speaking of shocks, Unhinged was far more violent than I anticipated. The trailer led me to believe this would be more of a psychological thriller. Nope! Some parts are actually kinda gory. I mean, I’ve seen so many movies and TV shows that I’m all but desensitized to violence at this point, but my parents were disturbed. I wouldn’t say it’s “slasher film level” of violence, but there were some gruesome moments. I’ll admit: I found some of the violence to be creative! There’s some things in here I’ve actually never seen before. Anyway– you’ve been warned.
One more negative point before I move on to the positives: I hated the color grading. The entire film has this washed-out pale tinge which I found ugly. Like, there’s very little colour in this thing (except for a couple scenes). Not that a movie of this type needs to be Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 level of bright colours, but gimme something more than the lame tint we got! It’s like when movies wash out the colour, the people in charge think it adds to the edginess, but oftentimes they just make the final product dull. That’s unforgivable in a visual medium like film.
OK– Now for a few nice notes. I found Unhinged to be unnerving in a good way. The story was aiming for intensity and it succeeded in making me feel uneasy throughout. Many moments were well-crafted. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat or anything, but I was entertained. A big asset to the the movie is Russell Crowe’s “unhinged” performance as Tom (Side note: he’s only credited as Man in the credits, which I found weird considering he said his name aloud). Crowe was fun to watch. He was also believable enough in the role that my father seemed convinced Crowe is similar to his character in real life. That remains to be seen…
Above all, I liked the message: don’t pick fights or anger people for no reason! Being a jerk might backfire on you horribly if you meet the wrong person on the wrong day. And also be a more patient driver. I sincerely hope my mother learned that lesson from watching (she’s known to get a little frustrated around bad drivers)… But for real: the movie conveys that message well and, if nothing else, it’ll probably make me think twice before I honk at someone.
All that to say Unhinged is passable entertainment if you’re bored.
Be sure to give this article a like on Facebook and share if you enjoyed. Also leave a comment if you’re inclined. When do you plan on revisiting movie theatres? Do you have any ideas for future articles? Let me know!
Till next time.