Movie Review: Unhinged (2020)

TL;DR – we have all felt that tipping point while driving on the road. Someone cuts in front of you, or changes lanes without indicating, or drives slowly when you are running late for an appointment. You boil over, honk your horn, and/or start swearing at the other driver. Now imagine you do that to a driver who turns out to be a psychopath…

Review (warning: spoilers)

Nothing complicated or deep about this film. Tom Cooper (Russell Crowe) is introduced at the beginning of the film sitting in his truck outside his ex-wife’s house. It’s night time, he lights a match and stares at it as if trying to decipher the meaning of the universe when in reality he’s only thinking about how much he wants to see the world burn. And burn it does…

He gets out of his truck with a hammer and a gasoline tank and proceeds to barge into his ex-wife’s house murdering her and her husband before lighting the whole place up.

Dawn of a new day? You can hope but you know deep down this will not be the case.

Instead, the next day, we follow single mother, Rachel Flynn (Caren Pistorius) and her son, Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) stuck in gridlock. Rachel is running late for work and has to drop his son off at school. Things go downhill when she receives a phone call from a client and is fired for her tardiness. When they reach an intersection and the light turns green, Rachel is astounded that the truck in front of her is not moving. She honks her horn and you know it will all escalate into bloody mayhem from there.

It is a by the numbers thriller that does not deviate from what it seeks to deliver: car chases, brutal violence, tense stand-offs, manipulative actions and a climatic final scene where Tom wants to drag Rachel and Kyle into hell with him.

The main cast are all on par, especially Crowe who plays the psychopath with that restrained fury that makes you wonder when he’s going to blow and how. He does it well with the less is more and there are brief moments where you might actually feel sorry for his character, Tom. For example, after being honked for not moving at the green light, Tom drives up alongside Rachel and asks if they can ‘reset’ and seeks to apologise. In turn, he asks her to apologise but Rachel refuses saying she did nothing wrong. Bad decision, Rachel, very bad decision.

Bodies fly, loved ones are kidnapped, and there is plenty of gruesome, bloody action. This is a film that delivers on atmosphere and thrills rather than provide any meaningful insight. The only message being the next time you feel road rage, take a deep breath.

6.5 out of 10

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