Thursday, November 25, 2021

#2,667. Unhinged (2020)


The very idea of road rage makes me uneasy; the fact is you never know who is driving the car next to you, or what they’re capable of, so it’s never a good idea to intentionally piss any driver off, for any reason.

And as we discover in director Derrick Borte’s intense 2020 thriller Unhinged, it might not take much to push that other driver over the edge.

Rachel (Caren Pistorius) is having a bad day. For starters, her lawyer and best friend Andy (Jimmi Simpson) has informed Rachel that her ex-husband Richard (voiced by Andrew Morgado) wants sole ownership of the house they once shared. If that isn’t bad enough, she’s late getting out the door, which - along with making her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) late for school a third time - results in her being fired by her most important client. Then, to top it off, she has an altercation with another driver (Russell Crowe) at a red light, who is none too happy when she refuses to apologize for her actions.

And if this man has anything to say about it, Rachel’s day is about to get a whole lot worse!

We know from the opening scene that Crowe’s character is out of control; also recently divorced, he breaks into his former house, murders his ex-wife and her lover, then burns it to the ground. Unfortunately, Rachel doesn’t know this, and by the time she realizes she has crossed the wrong person, it’s already too late. The lengths to which this guy goes to get back at Rachel will have you on the edge of your seat (as if the opening sequence wasn’t enough to clue us in on his state of mind, there’s a crazy scene at a gas station that proves he’s lost all control).

Unhinged never lets up; both director Borte and the film’s writer, Carl Ellsworth, keep the tension at a fever pitch throughout, filling the movie with one W-T-F moment after another (there’s an insane sequence involving Crowe’s psychopath and Rachel’s brother Fred, played by Austin P. McKenzie, yet even this is merely a precursor for what’s to come). Pistorius is strong as the frenzied Rachel, yet it’s Russell Crowe who delivers the film’s most intense performance, playing what is easily the darkest character he’s portrayed since 1992’s Romper Stomper.

And it’s because of him that Unhinged is guaranteed to shake you.
Rating: 9 out of 10

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