REVIEW: ‘Unhinged’ is never unentertaining

I don’t think Russell Crowe hasn’t taken out everything in his path like this since “Gladiator.”

Crowe, whose character is just known as The Man, is introduced as violent right from the start, as the opening scene shows him committing a double murder and then arson. We then switch to the main character, Rachel (Caren Pistorius), who’s having a rough morning.

She’s late for work, her divorce is taking the difficult route through the legal system and she has to make sure her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) gets to school on time. Along the way, she lays on the horn pretty hard at a truck, driven by Crowe’s character. He doesn’t take kindly to it, and decides to go on a murderous, destructive rampage with Rachel as his target.

While “Unhinged” notes a few societal issues at the start, the movie mostly leaves depth at the door and goes all in on just being a straightforward stalker chase film. The good news is it works pretty well.

This is a movie just made to entertain with thrills, and it goes to a good deal of lengths to get there. There are fights, car wrecks and chases through city streets, with much of it taking place with a ticking clock as Crowe’s character makes more threats against Rachel’s loved ones.

There is somewhat of a disconnect on why the Man focuses all of his attention on Rachel, though. There’s sort of an aspect of Crowe’s character being extra angry with her since she’s getting a divorce and he was set off by his own wife leaving him.

However, it is still surprising that in such a busy city, Rachel just happened to be the first person to catch his ire and not like a person at a drive thru who messed up his order.

UnhingedBlog
Courtesy Ingenious Media, Solstice Studios and Altitude Film.

The truth is, one has to suspend their disbelief quite a bit with “Unhhinged.” Along with the Man’s motivation being far-fetched, his ability to survive injuries and continuously get away with tearing up the whole metro gets to be a bit much.

It’s also noticeable that the protagonist makes some rather poor choices, like walking into the basement during a horror movie bad choices.

While the movie goes into some absurd territory, though, it’s fairly forgivable considering how entertaining the whole thing is. The constant threat of destruction and violence Crowe’s character brings can keep an audience engaged all the way to the ending.

The movie goes all in on the spectacle, too. There’s not just a few fender benders here. Cars are wrecked, flipped and the Man gets intense with his rampage. It keeps a viewer visually engaged and makes for a fun theater thrill ride.

It does help to have Crowe giving a really committed performance. His portrayal is ferocious, and a person can definitely believe he’s an unhinged guy. Crowe’s work gives the character a relentlessness that makes him frightening.

Pistorius deserves credit, too. She captures the frantic nature of her character as the situation intensifies. In the second half, Pistorius also portrays her drive to fight back and protect her son nicely.

“Unhinged” is a pretty basic stalker/chase film, but it pulls it off nicely. For those who are looking to go to the theater, munch on some popcorn and be entertained, this one is alright. 3 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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