Familiar and surprisingly violent, Unhinged is an entertaining thriller starring none other than Russell Crowe! Bulky and threatening he fits the role of a man with a huge chip on his shoulder perfectly. In this sea of mediocre and sanitized movies trying to attract every possible demographic, it’s really refreshing to see a movie like this. I felt like I traveled back in time but in a good way. To a time when car chases had to result in glorious crashes when people were just fucking assholes and there were no close calls and “minor injuries”. I should probably add in relatively mainstream movies because all these things have been happening in horror and indie movies all this time.
We haven’t had a good road rage movie in years and Unhinged is a pretty good one. It reminded me of such classics as Joy Ride, Changing Lanes, Highwaymen, and Spielberg’s classic Duel from 1971. This is a mixture of all these movies plus a memorable 1993 classic Falling Down with Michael Douglas in a similar role. However, Unhinged is a much more commercial movie with a distinct “television” vibe. As such it offers a pulpy experience without much meat behind it, a perfect product intended for single use. Fast-paced and unfolding in real-time, it will keep your attention for eighty minutes.
Tom Cooper is a troubled man. He’s coping quite badly with his recent divorce and feels like his life is worthless and without any meaning. We find him in front of his ex-wife’s house where he just snaps and goes crazy. Fast-forward a couple of hours and we’re following Rachel Hunter as she’s trying to get her son to school in time. At one intersection, she honks at a truck that seems to be ignoring a green light. That honk will change her life…
I think that one of the unintended consequences of a setup like this is the constant commentary about what you would do in that situation. We are all familiar with assholes behind wheels and Unhinged offers you a way to think through possible scenarios. If it makes people more careful and considerate in traffic it would be great. Although I doubt it. The opening narration showing how fucked up our world is and how people are just going crazy is true. However, the only problem is that it has been true for centuries and centuries. Actually, perhaps today might be the safest possible time to be alive, not to Pinker you too much. Well now that I mentioned him, I must elaborate further.
Steven Pinker is a Canadian psychologist claiming that the world is constantly getting better and safer. You can check him out on YouTube. And I agree with that assertion. Technically, it is true. However, you can make anything true if you stretch the initial concepts and conditions. Imagine if we had a cure for cancer and were unwilling to use and distribute it all the while keeping and enhancing other, less successful treatments. You might say that each year we are getting better and better in treating cancer although the reality is we could be without it completely.
The same concept can be applied to world progress. We have the cure for all this suffering and Pinker himself even mentions some of it in his enlightenment talk, but we’re unable to use it. That cure is the abandonment of tribal system of the values and acceptance of the rational system of values. I also promised you I would detail it and I will, just give me some time. Oh yeah, this is a review of a movie. What’s it called, Unhinged? So, yeah, okay movie, worth watching, check it out. And if you want to continue in the same direction, check out our Rabbit Reviews section of movies about driving.
Director: Derrick Borte
Writer: Carl Ellsworth
Cast: Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson, Austin P. McKenzie, Stephen Louis Grush, Anne Leighton
Fun Facts: Caren Pistorius, who plays Rachel, is only fourteen years older than Gabriel Bateman, who plays her son Kyle (I knew that something was up here).