Well, the man is most definitely unhinged as the title claims so anyone who happens to stumble onto watching Unhinged, directed by Derrick Borte and written by Carl Ellsworth, will surely get what they were promised. As the world of film in general aspires to tell boundary pushing stories and nowadays that often relates to technological evolution or intergalactic journeys, there really isn’t anything all that wrong with a movie that grounds itself with simple concept of road rage. Russell Crowe is The Man (with an alias of Tom Cooper), who a struggling mother Rachel (played by Caren Pistorius) and her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) have the unfortunate pleasure of encountering in traffic, as the bickering leads to a meltdown of The Man who goes on a killing spree to make Rachel’s life miserable. There is a budget for a great action film and commitment to fun B-movie thrills but not leaning towards either one is the downfall here.
It would be quite easy to write these kind of movies off just based on the premises but some things are made to be 80 minutes of unrelenting madness, that is exactly why Unhinged didn’t feel a second too long or rushed. When your senses are just exploited by car chases, tense moments of stalking and actors who get what project they signed on to, it works for a movie like this. Crowe comes off rather strong in the beginning but he is deservedly chewing the scenery, as is Pistorius in her role as well, eventually you just get to their level because the story doesn’t try too hard with their characters. Also helping is the action with cars because it all is quite well done, a lot of it is stupid enough to work for entertainment.
Some weaknesses with the script you might notice as you’re watching it but some do arise after also. Unhinged hits a flat because it gets stuck in between a B-movie and high class action, visually it just looks so much less than its budget of $33 million and The Man’s kills are just as boring as the fight choreography is laughable. The script lets characters get off easy too many times (the diner scene being the worst executed one) but couple of those could be forgiven if the payoff was any fun and the ending just isn’t worth it. Then when you say that a film looks less than its money, it is one of the last things anyone should say about your work. Action at the end is incomprehensible due to awful editing and colour-wise nothing just makes sense. Everything looks plain, lifeless and mundane which is a shame because it could’ve used some visual flair to make the road trip more lively.
Smileys: Pacing, Russell Crowe
Frowneys: Colouring, screenplay, editing
Makes you think the next time you blare your car horn, it might unhinge someone.