by Kyle Arango
We are back! That is right, we have arrived in a place finally where theaters are beginning to reopen, and new movies are choosing to be released in them. Is it safe yet? That’s up for you to decide and how cautious you can be but regardless, Russell Crowe is here to save cinema and bring us all back to the theater. So, the question becomes, is Unhinged the movie you need to rush back to a theater to see? Not necessarily, but if you enjoy this type of horror rush, this is the film for you. Unhinged feels like a straight to video release that made its way to the big screen and you know what? It works, and it’s batshit crazy.
Unhinged is a cautionary tale about the dangers of road rage. One day on her way to drop off her son at school, Rachel lets her bad day get the best of her when she lets loose on another driver. That driver played by Russell Crowe, is a very unstable person who just needed that little push in order to unleash his rage on her and show her what it really means to have a bad day. Right off the top I will say this, I had a blast with this movie. It is insane to the point of reality meaning; it never gets quite so ridiculous that you wonder how all this can happen. It pulls no punches and sets up everything very clearly for you. Camera shots linger on certain objects that will come back later on and characters are set up that pay off. This film knows you know where this is going and wants you to just enjoy the ride. The trailer was wild and the film itself bumped that up even more, and I had a great time.
Unhinged is the ultimate definition of a four-star three-star movie. It is a phrase we like to use to describe films that have zero intention to win any awards or change the world. They don’t have a strong social message or idea they want to convey; they just want to entertain you. It is never trying to be anything more than three-stars and it hits those three-stars so perfectly that it deserves four. This film is the furious the Fast and Furious films wish they could be. You can tell the director and writer have had bad run-ins with rage filled drivers, so they decided to play out the ultimate worst-case scenario where you blow up on the wrong person and they decide to ruin your life. It seems far-fetched, but not really. We have all felt this rage at some point where that person cut you off or is going 30 in a 45mph zone and you can’t go around them. The human race for some reason gets their angriest when they are inside of a giant bullet. It makes no sense why we can’t control our emotions when we are at the grasp of a deadly weapon, but it does make for some very good fictional entertainment.
Now we have the address the elephant in the room which is the lead Russell Crowe. Once considered to be one of the best actors alive during his apex in the early 2000’s has come a long way ever since with ups and downs. Some might see Unhinged as just a paycheck movie for him, which it very well could be, but boy does he bring it. Doesn’t matter how ridiculous the material might be, Russell Crowe puts in some work here that is so captivating. He is a man who completely terrifies out protagonist Rachel as well as us to the point we can’t take our eyes off him. It takes awhile for the movie to get to him, but once we do there is no turning back. He goes full horror movie monster here with the menace of a Michael Myers and the rage of a Freddy Krueger multiplied by ten. What’s truly terrifying is that he is real. This isn’t some monster who can go into your dreams or rise from the dead, he is someone who could be in any car surrounding you at a traffic light and Crowe makes that nightmare come to life.
I am delighted to say that Unhinged is a great popcorn flick to reopen theaters with. It is not peak cinema Scorsese would like, but it does exactly what it sets out to do and does it with a passion. Do you need to rush out to see it? No, and if you’re still afraid I wouldn’t recommend you do. However, if your theater is opening and you are in an area where you feel safe to return, Unhinged is a great return to satisfy that itch.