Movies: Rapid Review

Rapid Review: Unhinged (2020)

Staring: Caren Pistorius, Russell Crowe, Gabriel Bateman

Unhinged is billed as a thriller directed by Derrick Borte with a screenplay by Carl Ellsworth. From the start of the film’s credits all the way through the final scene the movie emphasizes, if not a little too blatantly, that our world has become increasingly violent and impatient. Russell Crowe does a great job playing a mentally unstable “forgotten” man in a society that doesn’t have time to recognize the efforts of those that have worked and bled to make ends meet. With a gradual build for the first fifteen to twenty minutes the film lines up actions and characters in a way that foreshadows the events that follow in the second half of the first act all the way through to the credit roll. At times the foreshadowing is really “in your face” and can detract from the overall enjoyment of the film. Well-paced and perfectly edited, Unhinged is a worthy first movie in the post shut-down world of cinema going. Though it is billed as a thriller there are a few moments of pure horror-like pacing with added jump scares to pull a hearty “oh sh*t” from the audience; I certainly shouted it a couple times. Fear not it was under my breath.

Mild Spoilers Ahead, Read with Caution

Caren Pistorius character, Rachel Hunter, is a forgetful mother dealing with a divorce and struggling to make ends meet to keep family obligations under control while loving and caring for her frustrated but understanding son, Kyle Hunter, played by Gabriel Bateman. The family dynamic between the two feels genuine at times, but is lacking. It is the one real negative about the film. However, once the action kicks in with Russell’s mixture of “incel” anger and mental health poorly treated by chewing prescription pills, you quickly forget the weaker performances and underdeveloped dialog. Russell Crowe’s performance is flat-out scary, if not mildly overdone. His acting was on-point, but some of the scenarios in which he is his most violent feel a bit unrealistic. Not so much in what he is doing, albeit the violence is upfront and in your face, but, it is more about how or why no one around is stepping up to challenge him.

If you’re looking for an afternoon or evening activity and want to kick-off the post shutdown return of movies, Unhinged is definitely worth a watch. It is rated R and for good reason. The intensity and violence are unrelenting. But, if you want to feel a rush of fear, mixed with a desire to help the victims while tossing back some popcorn and an ice-cold drink, Unhinged should satisfy those wants easily. Don’t expect an Oscar worthy film that promises to change your life or even one that will stay with you two weeks after you’ve watched it, but,  Unhinged is a film that will fill a couple hours of your day with entertainment and possibly a little frustration at how well it portrays the “self” driven faults gnawing away at society.

5 out of 10 for acting and believable characters

7 out of 10 for pacing, editing, action sequences, and general entertainment

Rapid Review’s Overall Score 6

Published by druescott13

Independent Author and Sign Language Interpreter living in Orlando, FL.

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