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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 46.15%
Total Crap53.85%

2 reviews, 1 rating

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by Jack Sommersby

"Unctuous 'Unhinged'"
2 stars

It's more than a bit like watching a gruesomely R-rated Road Runner cartoon without the entertainment value.

The action thriller Unhinged is never boring and, with the help of three film editors, it does indeed move itself along, but I can't say I particularly enjoyed it. There's ultimately something boringly average to it that prevents it from overcoming its many shortcomings. A severely-bloated Russell Crowe isn't necessarily boo-hiss-worthy as the road-rage psychopath, but he lacks the concentrated intensity and vitality that would make his villain truly menacing; absent is the level of invention Crowe brought to the party on previous occasions in L.A. Confidential and The Insider and Romper Stomper (among others) - for possibly the first time ever, Crowe seems to be reaching for his effects, and the effort shows. And because his malicious Tom Cooper's internal angst isn't suitably explored, the movie is mechanical, soulless. (When we learn he's a disgruntled everyman recently fired one year short of his pension, it comes off as a mere afterthought and is awfully cribbed from the slightly more-interesting 1993 Michael Douglas star vehicle Falling Down.) On the other hand, Caren Pistoriug, a sometimes-TV actress, who plays the professionally-struggling single mom who unwisely angrily honks her horn at a distracted Tom at a green light while racing to a demanding client while dropping her son off at school, is, to put it mildly, terrific. There's an alert reserve, an immediacy to her acting, and I can't imagine another plain-Jane actress bringing the down-to-earth vulnerability and eventual no-holds-barred strength to the role. Due to its directorial competence and appropriately brief ninety-minute running time, Unhinged has something of a muscular vernacular to its credit (though a William Friedkin or Peter Greengrass or Mark Pellington could've really given the proceedings some real vrooom!), and it rouses itself for a not-bad finale involving the mother-bear-protecting-her-cub heroine and some semi-cannily foreshadowed peppermint-colored hairstyling scissors. Yet the outlandishness, implausibility (could Tom's inconspicuous full-size pick-up truck really escape a citywide APB?), and one-dimensionality of the picture does it in. It's a poor-man's 1986 The Hitcher minus Rutger Hauer's brilliance and Robert Harmon's technical virtuosity.

Imagination-deprived, it's like a direct-to-video mediocrity with delusions of grandeur.

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originally posted: 09/03/20 10:01:49
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User Comments

8/24/20 Louise (the real one) We really don't need such horrid films.Just reading this review's enough to put me off. 1 stars
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  21-Aug-2020 (R)
  DVD: 17-Nov-2020


  DVD: 17-Nov-2020

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