Funny story. As I was watching Unhinged, I consistently kept getting flashbacks to a little 2005 film that I absolutely love, called Red Eye. Red Eye was a really good, contained cat and mouse thriller starring Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy. Cillian was basically this absolutely crazy, but smart psychopath, and Rachel played a woman trying and failing to get away from him. The tenseness and insanity that you found in Red Eye felt really similar to what you had in this movie, and low and behold, the same guy wrote both movies. I didn’t know that until after I saw the movie and started looking up everyone that worked on it, and now that I know that, I appreciate the film even more. Today is November 3rd…Election day. Right now, I’m as unhinged as Russell Crowe. Let’s get crackin!
This review is brought to you by the word of the day: Unhinged.
Highly disturbed, unstable, or distraught.
Unhinged is all about Rachel Hunter and her son as they are about to have the worse day of their lives, all due to a smidgen of road rage. When the vehicle in front of her fails to move during a green light, she honks her horn at him, but he was the wrong person to do that with, because from that moment forward, this mysterious man begins to stalk and threaten Rachel, and he isn’t against murdering anyone that gets in his way to make sure Rachel understands what a bad day really is.
This movie really understands how suspense and thriller work. Just like Red Eye, I was basically on the edge of my seat from the very beginning all the way to the end, because Russell Crowe is just so good at what he does here. His acting is incredible. It’s often really good for a variety of different reasons, and the same applies here. He is just this vitriolic, hateful, spiteful person, and on top of all that, he is apparently unstoppable. Seriously. Where are all the cops in this town? This guy is going around breaking all sorts of traffic laws, running people over, committing crimes in public, and there’s never any cop around. That’s not really a huge problem, though, because by keeping the movie focused on Rachel and this road rage guy, it remains remarkably contained and consistent, meaning the pacing is never in question, it never feels long or boring, the tense atmosphere and direty of their situation continually climbs at a steady pace. In general, it’s a very, very good version of a typical thriller formula.
Unfortunately, I guess that’s the main negative that you can point out about it, right? That it can easily be overlooked because the formula of the film is not really that original. The road rage thing is cool, but at the end of the day, this is plainly put, a basic cat and mouse thriller where nearly anybody could have filled these roles. I’d say that Russell Crowe felt like the only person that could play the guy in the movie, but everybody else, including the mom and son who are considered the main characters of the thing? I would say they’re mostly replaceable. They could have been anybody. Road rage can happen to anyone, and this dude would have clearly been triggered by any given person on the road that he didn’t like. Again, that means he is a strong character, and he pulls of a strong performance, but this mom and kid were kind of nothing to me. I also know that this woman was having a bit of a bad day before the “real” bad day began, but I still don’t really buy her honking her horn at this guy in a pickup truck. I just don’t. I’d never honk my horn at anyone, let alone someone in a pickup truck. You’re only asking for trouble at that point, and asking for trouble with your kid in the backseat? Come on. That’s one of those instances where I would say the main characters were making stupid choices. But I guess you kind of have to make stupid choices in order for the movie to really begin.
Regardless, I know it’s not a perfect film by any means, but it is fun and tense enough that it had my heart racing while watching, and at the end of the day, I’m pretty sure that was the point of the thing. It wasn’t ever trying to be this big, award-winning action film. Heck, if Russell Crowe wasn’t in the film, I somehow doubt I’d ever watch the movie. But I’m glad that I did, because at the heart of the movie, I have to say that it is entertaining above all else. Let’s go ahead and break down my final score. From an unbiased, technical vantage point, it’s a good movie in general. Certain things about what it technically does stands out, like Russell Crowe’s performance, and in general, the pacing of the film, which just gets more and more insane as it goes on. Again, it’s nothing perfect. The movie wasn’t trying to be great behind the scenes, so this score is 78%, but what it IS trying to do, on the otherhand, is entertain its audience, and entertained I was. So, this biased score is actually at 94%, averaging everything out to the final rating of 86%, 86 out of 100 possible stars, or a B+ letter grade.
This is one of the best thrill rides of the year, and I’m really glad I saw it. If you’ve seen it, let me know your thoughts on it in the comments down below. And, as usual, until next time…