If the global pandemic has got you down, and the thought of Hollywood Heavyweight Russell Crowe using a flip phone and minivan to terrorise a young divorcee and her son puts a smile on your face, then have I got a film for you.
From the writer of 2005’s Red Eye, Carl Ellsworth, comes a remarkably similar tale of ugly violence against women, and even more brutal revenge. In that film, Cillian Murphy and Rachel McAdams (with help from director Wes Craven) helped to elevate a fairly stock standard thriller about a terrorist kidnapping in mid-air into an edge of the seat thrill ride.
In Unhinged, it is up to a seriously chunky Russell Crowe to propel the action along and frankly he is chilling in his portrayal of a man pushed to the edge. As the film opens it’s 4am and Crowe sits in a big pick-up truck outside a home with a For Sale sign before taking a wedding ring off his finger, tossing it over his shoulder and stepping out into the rain. Using a hammer he smashes his way into the home, bludgeoning the occupants, presumably his wife and her new partner) before torching the joint and driving off before cops arrive.
Next we meet Rachel, a young mum having marital issues of her own as she oversleeps and has to rush her teenage son Kyle to school. En route she inadvertently manages to enrage Crowe’s character (listed only as “Man” although he does call himself Thomas Hooper in one scene) and he tailgates her to a nearby gas station where the attendant helpfully tells Rachel that the guy must be “Road Ragin’”. Another customer, buying smokes, offers to escort Rachel to her car in a bid to thwart her stalker. What happens to this Good Samaritan shows us that when Russell gets behind the wheel, he ain’t stopping for nobody.
Unhinged is a fairly standard action thriller, the likes of which lined the shelves of video rental stores a couple of decades ago.
As the murderous driver continues to menace Rachel, asserting that suicide by cop is OK with him, it is clear we are headed to a showdown between the pair.
For a year in cinema that can eat a dick thanks to stupid Covid-19, Unhinged is a welcome sight on a big screen. It’s got an Oscar winner + spectacular stunt driving, in a suspenseful B-Movie that doesn’t leave a drop in the tank.
3 Stars – “The Best B-Movie of 2020”