There are several movies where you will find yourself forcing your brain off for the narrative to make complete sense and Unhinged is the most recent film to join that club. A film with no real point to it other than being a 90-minute reminder that road rage could possibly get you in trouble. Following almost every cliche there is, Unhinged manages to still be a solid, but over the top thrill-ride that features Russell Crowe giving an unfortunate woman her worst day ever.
During the opening credits, it becomes apparent that the movie understands it doesn’t have much going for it. Set in a world where road rage is running wild, Unhinged follows Rachel Hunter on a day she will never forget. After a minor road rage incident, Rachel is stalked by an unstable driver who wants to show her what a bad day looks like. Written by Carl Ellsworth and directed by Derrick Borte, Unhinged stars Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson, and Austin McKenzie.
As mentioned above, the film relies heavily on plot conveniences and requires you to shut your brain off for most of this script to make sense. Typical dumb character decisions are in abundance and while the acting from everyone involved is adequate, there is no overlooking this nonsense in between. Russell Crowe stars as Tom Cooper, an unstable man that could care less what happens to him because the film makes it clear that he has nothing left to lose. Convinced his life is the worst, he is the poster child for misery loves company in this film. Rachel, the protagonist starts off at a low point in life and she never really develops beyond that because she’s still at the low point when the film ends. The only difference is now she knows to second guess honking her horn at strangers.
The premise is average but that doesn’t stop the film from becoming intense and over the top. Crowe has a blast in this role and eats up every scene from the opening credits to the final shot. He definitely is the standout and makes Unhinged more entertaining than it should have been. Pistorius plays the lead mother well and Bateman gives a solid performance as her son, Kyle Hunter. Fans of the Child’s Play remake will recognize him as the new Andy, but he is far better in this film. Performances aside, all of the characters are generic and underdeveloped so their fates are unimportant. Rachel makes so many irrational decisions that you find yourself not wanting to root for her but against her.
While this is a plausible scenario that can occur, the script involving the scenario just has too many errors. However, the film plays out just fine once your brain is removed. There are great action sequences throughout and Borte builds upon the tension with each scene as Crowe’s character becomes more deranged. The film’s score by David Buckley is a great addition to the tension Borte establishes and Unhinged never has a dull moment because once Rachel meets Tom the film rushes through to the finish line.
Unhinged is a fun thriller to pass the time with solid performances and great stunt work, but it’s really the script that holds the film back. Crowe and Pistorious clearly had fun while making this and it’s a shame their characters weren’t developed further. Overall, this is a very flawed film that’s anchored mostly by great acting and adequate tension building.