Movie Review: Unhinged

You are a typical American, who like so many millions, has a job you hate and a boss who loves to make your life miserable. On top of that you are getting a divorce and unfortunately, live in one of the thousands of locations in this country, where the traffic is horrendous. This is the believable scenario that summarizes the beginning of the movie “Unhinged”, starring Russel Crowe.

Actress Caren Pistorius plays Rachel, the woman who at the start of this movie is in her car with her son, desperately trying to find her way to work despite the horrible traffic. Eventually she runs into the worse case scenario other driver played by Russel Crowe, when she herself is at her lowest. The road rage that follows is some of most effective and believable that I have seen in any movie.

When encountering “The Man” in the other car, Rachel makes the exact wrong mistake by honking her horn too loudly after he would not move after the light turned green. This is a story that should have been a very good one, reminding many people of the movie “Duel”, directed by Steven Spielberg released in 1971 and the road rage that exists on so many roads in this country.

Unfortunately too many parts of this story and mostly bad ending have what is called “Hollywood-ified” illogical action to pump up the conclusion. This ongoing practice almost never works and both the villain and the woman trying to protect her son would never do any of the very stupid things they do at the end of this story. People rush to the police to save their lives and a villain in real life will always kill any person who gets in their way immediately. There are no second chances giving the victim an opportunity to save their lives when you are dealing with a desperate and very angry mass murderer. The case of Unhinged is that it is a good thriller with a very believeable beginning that was greatly diminished by a bad ending.

For those who remember what a great actor Russel Crowe is, now some 20 years after winning an Oscar for “Gladiator” in 2000 and a nominated for “A Beautiful Mind” in 2001 – in what is arguably his greatest role, it is hard to see him in a lower quality movie like this. Movie roles like those great parts 20 years ago have not come to Crowe since, although he has had some very good acting parts over the years, including the excellent “Cinderella Man” in 2005 and most recently his role playing Roger Ailes in “The Loudest Voice” in 2019. One can only wonder why Crowe is so extremely overweight – perhaps not able to lose the weight for the Ailes role, or other reasons including the stress of his divorce and his movie career not going as well as it has in the past. His acting in this movie is very good, but I am surprised that due to his clout as a bankable star, the script was not made better with many more re-writes.

I agree with the low 47% ratings for this film on Rotten Tomatoes and unfortunately, mostly because of the bad ending, I cannot recommend it.

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