Saturday, November 28, 2020

Movie Reviews: Unhinged

directed by Derrick Borte
I know some people who have the patience of saints. These people never get upset while they are driving. They constantly defer to other drivers, never flip anyone off, and calmly brush off angry grimaces or foul hand signals that they may see from other people on the road. I envy those folks. I am not one of those people though I have become calmer as I have aged. Previously though, if you were doing something stupid that was hindering me, I was going to let you know about it. With age comes wisdom though. 
You never know what the other people on the road are going through to make them behave as they do. You also never know what acts they may be capable of committing. Their state of anger may be far more dangerous than your state of anger. It's worthwhile considering that before you get into a back and forth with someone on the road. Being inside a vehicle, particularly a large one, can give a driver an unwarranted sense of safety and sometimes aggression. 
This is a lesson which Unhinged is determined to share with its viewers. Sometimes chance can combine with bad decisions to just ruin your day. We all have bad days. Some people are salivating at the opportunity to share their pain with others. Rachel (Caren Pistorius) is a struggling hairdresser(?).  Separated, Rachel is going thru a divorce which is on the verge of turning nasty.  Rachel is letting her somewhat fey and definitely lazy brother Fred (Austin McKenzie) and his girlfriend (Juliene Joyner) live with her rent free until Fred finds a job, something Fred doesn't seem to be too interested in doing. 
Rachel has temporary custody of her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman).  This morning Rachel is as usual running late. Kyle will be late to class, while Rachel might lose her job. 
So when Rachel gets stuck behind a pickup truck that won't move even when the light changes, she's not shy about letting her horn and her fingers do her talking. Well that was a mistake. You see the driver of this particular pickup truck is one Tom Cooper (Russell Crowe) who is the walking definition of the film's title. Tom is not the one to mess with today. 
We know this because we've already seen Tom (offscreen) murder his divorced wife and her new lover/husband. Tom is an open wound of resentments and anger who has an APB with his name on it. 
So Tom, already feeling po'd at life in general and women in particular, catches up to Rachel and politely apologizes to her for zoning out at the light.  He suggests that she offer an apology of her own for laying on the horn and the hand gestures. This Rachel declines to do.
You know what they say about messing with people with nothing left to lose. Tom decides to make it his life's purpose to teach Rachel a lesson about manners. And he doesn't care how many people have to die in order to make his point. The film's intensity is somewhat undercut by its repeated setpieces. Crowe's menace is not what it would have been in his younger days. His massive weight gain works against that. 
Still Crowe's Tom Cooper is someone who is clearly hurting. Evil he may be, but this is a movie that might have done better with a little more backstory for Crowe's character. B-movie with a fair amount of violence. The film reminded me of Duel while Pistorius reminded me of Jennifer Connelly.
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