By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
Russell Crowe, the person, has been known to lose his temper quite infamously. So, it came as no surprise to me that he was cast in a movie about a furious and deranged villain who victimizes someone who crosses him in an unfavorable situation. Now, to clarify, I am not saying that Crowe would actually go to the horrible lengths his character does in the film, but let’s just say, it is a role that is not a huge reach for someone of his temperament. That said, Unhinged does offer some palpable suspense, excitement and shocks, but never rises high above similar material presented in Lifetime movies with similar themes.
Crowe stars as Tom Cooper, a middle-aged man going through a very bad time in his life. Though the movie never gives exact details, it does reveal that Cooper has recently gone through a divorce that has pushed him to a breaking point. Meanwhile, mother, and future divorcee, Rachel Hunter (Caren Pistorius) stuggles to adjust to her life as a single mom while in the process of her own divorce proceedings. On one particular morning going wrong, Rachel frantically tries to get her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) to school on time, but traffic and fate have other plans. When the frustrated Rachel honks her car horn when Cooper reacts too slowly at a traffic light, it is a decision she will regret during the rest of her soon to be terrifying day.
Written by Carl Ellsworth, and directed by Derrick Borte, Unhinged is definitely a thrilling, tension-filled rollercoaster ride, but never delves deep enough to be taken too seriously. The movie starts out well enough, but when the Rachel character starts making incredulously ridiculous decisions, I grew increasingly frustrated. As the film gets into its intense climax, that’s when metaphorical sharks get jumped and the movie goes off the rails. It is sad to say that Lifetime movies have better handled climaxes than this movie. That isn’t to say I wasn’t entertained, or rather amused. Quite honestly, as this movie itself gets “unhinged,” I was laughing hysterically.
As far as the cast is concerned, the performances work well enough for this caliber of movie. Caren Pistorius gives a solid turn, but portrays a character written as someone with limited intelligence. Russell Crowe brings the necessary intensity and rage to his character, but his character also lacks proper development in the writing.
As fun as this movie is, it never succeeds in making an intelligent statement on human affairs. The filmmakers throw in viral videos as examples of similar real events, but this technique comes off as pretentious, given the end result that is this movie. Unhinged is good for some thrills and laughs, but nothing more.