High-Def Digest was able to take an early look at Solstice Studios' new road-rage thriller Unhinged, starring Russell Crowe. The Video, Audio, and Bonus Features section has not been analyzed since they're not pertinent - however - if/when a Blu-ray is released we'll update this review accordingly. Unhinged has some B-Movie elements that should satisfy genre fans even if the movie doesn't make a lick of sense. Worth A Look!
Imagine going to a movie theater for this film and then contracting COVID and dying. It would be sad, tragic, and embarrassing, as is the case with this new Russell Crowe vehicle Unhinged, which is set to be the "big" return to movie theaters during a global pandemic. It's not a smart choice at the moment, but if Unhinged happens to rush over to VOD, then there are some B-Movie elements that should satisfy genre fans even if the movie doesn't make a lick of sense.
Film director Derrick Borte (The Joneses) tells a tale of a person who is mentally unstable who goes on a killing spree after a small incident of road rage. The movie feels like a distant cousin to Joel Schumacher's Falling Down with Michael Douglas, but lacks any of the social and political undertones as well as any dark comedy Falling Down succeeded in. In fact, Unhinged seemed to only have a three-page script where the filmmakers tried desperately to conjure up a thrilling story but ended up with a jumbled, lazy mess of plot points and character decisions that takes itself way too seriously for the type of film that it actually is.
The opening of the movie collects a montage of news footage of real-human violence, road rage, and the worst of society, which leads to a short sequence of Russell Crowe entering a home and killing those inside and setting the house on fire. Cut to the next day where Rachel, a single mom living with her 15-year-old son, brother, and his girlfriend, wakes up late for an important appointment and is not on time bringing her son to school due to traffic on the highway. She finds an exit and all seems clear, but at a stoplight, the large truck in front of her does not move when the light turns green, which prompts Rachel to lay on the horn for several seconds before she quickly drives around, shoots the finger and drives off.
The truck then pulls up beside her at the next stoplight to reveal Russell Crowe (who looks to be going the physical Marlon Brandon route), playing a guy named Tom Cooper, who apologizes to Rachel for having a bad day and not driving when the light turned green. Her response is to yell and curse at him when he asks for a simple apology. From here, Tom Cooper turns on his sadistic charm and sets out to make her day a living nightmare, not by stalking her though, but somehow finding her close friends and family and brutally murdering them, some of which are in very public places.
From one incoherent scene to the next, Russell Crowe seems to outsmart this lady, where most of the conversations are on a mobile phone inside a vehicle. As Michael Douglas states his disdain for the world around him in a witty, smart, and darkly funny way, screenwriter Carl Ellsworth (Red Eye, Disturbia, Red Dawn remake) never gives Tom Cooper anywhere to breathe or allow a sympathetic tone ring true to his demeanor and thought process. Instead, he sets out to kill innocent people who have no connection to Rachel's absurd behavior throughout the film.
In fact, the hot take here is that Tom Cooper is the actual hero in the movie and Rachel is the villain in that there is no redeemable quality to this woman at all, as she doesn't seem to care for anyone around her, even her kid. Tom arrives and tries to convince Rachel to take a step back and look at the mistakes she's making, only for her to blow up in his face, which leads him to an over-the-top reaction that makes zero sense whatsoever.
With the material that is given to Crowe here, he looks to be having a fun time jumping head first into such a ridiculous and outrageous performance, but it's miles away from his nuanced and pitch-perfect role in Virtuosity. If the filmmakers went the route of supernatural serial slasher with Russell Crowe here, the film would have played better and even explained some of the truly unexplainable sequences in the movie - plus everyone would've had more fun. Still, bless Russell Crowe for doing genre movies, even if Unhinged is a wreck.