Unhinged, rated R
Unhinged is an intense, but disappointing B-grade thriller, that doesn’t allow its Oscar winning lead actor to do much more than grunt. The film, directed by Derrick Borte, with the script written by Carl Ellsworth, also includes a significant amount of violence and adult language.
The film begins with a bloated Russell Crowe, Oscar winner for Best Actor in Gladiator and also nominated for A Beautiful Mind and The Insider), portraying “The Man”, sitting in his pickup truck in the rain outside of a home with a “For Sale” sign in the front yard. He is sweating and gulping down prescription meds like they were candy, something he does throughout the film. We see him take off his wedding ring. We assume that his ex-wife, and possibly others, are inside the house. Eventually, he gets out of the car, kills all inside and sets the house on fire.
The next morning, we see Rachel, a hairdresser played by Caren Pistorius, being awakened by a phone call from her best friend and attorney Andy, played by Emmy nominee Jimmi Simpson (Westworld), who is helping her through a divorce. She is the mother of a young son, Kyle, played by Gabriel Bateman (Child’s Play). Rachel’s brother Fred, played by Austin P. McKenzie, and his girlfriend Mary, played by Juliene Joyner, also are temporarily living in her home. By oversleeping, Rachel misses an appointment with an important client, who then fires her. She also makes Kyle late for school – we assume not for the first time – which will earn him a detention.As they are on the way to school, an agitated Rachel honks at a pickup truck that doesn’t move when the light turns green. That leads to a road rage incident between The Man and Rachel, observed by Kyle sitting in the backseat. The Man apologizes for his part in the incident, and asks Rachel to do the same. When she refuses, he tells her that she will see just what a bad day looks like. The rest of the film has The Man pursuing Rachel and her family with deadly intent.
The film had the potential to be a good psychological thriller, but settles for a B-grade chase between The Man’s large pick-up truck and Rachel’s old Volvo station wagon.
The film is rated “R” for a significant amount of both violence and adult language. The appeal of the film was its Oscar winning lead actor. Crowe is not given much of an opportunity to display his talents. Unfortunately, this B-grade film was a major disappointment.