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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Now showing: Unhinged (MA15+)

Luke McWilliams give his review of the 2020 thriller film Unhinged, starring our very own Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorius.

Tom Cooper (Russell Crowe) parks his silver 4WD and enters a home at night, setting it on fire. After a montage showing the stresses of everyday American life, struggling Rachel (Caren Pistorius) runs late getting her 15-year-old son to school. After being fired for missing her appointment due to a traffic jam, Rachel angrily honks at an idle, silver 4WD.

Unhinged is a morality play, tapping into the modern zeitgeist of high tension and selfishness. Like William Foster in Falling Down, Cooper is a man beyond the edge. Whereas Foster’s frustration is born out of his disillusion with American life, Cooper’s is pure rage. Having seemingly lost everything, Cooper is content to burn the world around him to go down in its flames.Rachel must elude Cooper’s murderous 4WD on highways, urban roads and side alleys; the car carnage spliced brilliantly by Ford vs Ferrari’s editor.

Screenwriter Carl Ellsworth extends his concept by using his Red Eye script, with Cooper using Rachel’s mobile to endanger her and her family’s lives. Cooper has little backstory, allowing the audience to subjectively fill in the gaps that have led him to become a powder keg representative of modern-day frustrations. It is a pity then that Unhinged is happy to stick with its B-movie murder-mayhem trappings instead of poking a little deeper into the themes that set it up in the first place, especially with Oscar-winning Crowe at the wheel.

Verdict: An excellent cinematic ride let down by its lack of thematic ambition. 3 stars.

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