If you’re looking for a cinematic experience that will have you on the razor’s edge of terror, then you don’t need to look too far with Russell Crowe’s vindictively terrifying performance in Unhinged, which revs up the scares and floors it with this intense cinema treat!
After a confrontation with an unstable man (Russell Crowe) at an intersection, a woman (Caren Pistorius) becomes the target of his rage.
It’s been a while since audiences have been in cinemas, and director Derrick Borte certainly turns up the volume with his intense road-rage psycho-thriller Unhinged as he taps into our modern-day fears and the frightening element of the unexpected and the unknown. Turning the clock back to good ol’ fashioned grindhouse thrills, Borte pairs a simple and direct story of cat and mouse framed through the context of road rage gone extreme and the result is a white knuckle presentation of absolute on-the-edge fear. Borte shows he has real talent here as a director with Unhinged, and he uses the film’s plotting and acting talent, with Kiwi stars Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorius, to great effect as he weaves his audience through this dangerous tale, and which is packed with shocks at every turn. It’s the unexpected that works in Unhinged and Borte certainly gets a reaction out of his audience with this one.
Stepping into the lead role of the anonymous and unstoppable villain of Unhinged, and who is only described as The Man, is Academy Award winner Russell Crowe. And the Kiwi star brings a unique sense of foreboding in his role as chief antagonist. As The Man, Crowe epitomizes the concept of the shadow, and is a composite of all the ills of our modern society, is the pure representation of just what happens when an ordinary man crosses the line and falls knowingly into the abyss. Vehemently angry and psychotic, Crowe makes for a fearsome antagonist as all of his rage is directed onto ordinary working mum Rachel (Caren Pistorius), who herself is just trying to get by, and the reality and setting of this movie makes it all the scarier! Crowe’s obsession to hunt down Rachel and inflict as much pain as he can on her is certain to send a chill down your spine.
What makes Crowe even scarier is that his acts are never justified, and he never gives a motive for his actions except that he wants Rachel to “know what a bad day feels like.” It’s always scarier when there’s motive. This portrayal of an extremely real-world villain, whom you could easily find on any six o’clock news report, is something that gets under the audience’s skin and Crowe and Borte use this to great effect to frighten their audience. It’s been some time since we’ve last seen Crowe play a villain, and he brings out a monstrous figure as this raging, anonymous homicidal maniac who will stop at nothing. After seeing Crowe’s performance in Unhinged….you’ll certainly want to drive a little easier.
Taking the brunt of Crowe’s force in Unhinged is fellow Kiwi Caren Pistorius, and this young actress brings a great maturity, urgency and survival instinct to the part of Rachel. Best described as a completely normal person, Rachel is dealing with her own problems and through one subtle misdirection incurs the wrath of the unstoppable force that is this anonymous driver bent on taking his rage out on her. Discovering all too quickly how serious he is, Rachel is pushed into flight or fight mode and it’s here where Pistorius performance comes out fully. Pistorius shows plenty of grit and determination to take on Crowe at his own game and twist it in her favour.
In choosing to describe the action of Unhinged, the word car crash is pretty apt, since that’s exactly the level of carnage that director Derrick Borte unleashes on the screen. Placing his audience right inside the real world, Borte doesn’t shy away from the violence of The Man’s actions, and there are moments that are sure to make audiences squirm. Borte takes what’s best about the thriller genre and strips it down to its bare elements with this very simple chase concept, and the result is sure to keep audiences on edge the entire time because these thrills don’t let up.
If you’re seeking some thrills that will have your heart racing from a surging adrenaline rush then Unhinged is definitely that you need to watch pronto….but just remember to hold on tight!
Image: Studio Canal