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Review: Russell Crowe Unleashes his Inner Villain in ‘Unhinged’

August 13, 2020Ben MK

There are movies with actual plots and then there are movies like Unhinged, the new road rage film from director Derrick Borte, which stars Russell Crowe as a middle-aged Terminator with severe anger issues.

In this straightforward and graphically violent suspense thriller, Crowe plays a newly divorced man who has recently murdered his ex-wife and her partner and set their house ablaze when he encounters a woman named Rachel (Caren Pistorius) at a traffic intersection. Unfortunately for Rachel, however, she has no way to know just how unstable Crowe's character is. So when she honks at him when he refuses to budge at a green light, she unwittingly triggers his homicidal tendencies and sets into motion a series of gruesome events involving those closest to her.

What follows has Rachel and her son (Child's Play's Gabriel Bateman) trying to outrun and outwit Crowe's deranged lunatic, as he not only follows her car in his menacing pickup truck — and, later on, an even more menacing cement truck — but also steals her cell phone and uses her contact list to track down and terrorize her friends and family — including her friend and divorce attorney, Andy (Westworld's Jimmi Simpson), and her brother, Fred (Austin P. McKenzie) — all the while never forgoing an opportunity to let Rachel know that all of this could have been avoided if she only gave him a "courtesy tap" first.

Suffice to say, Unhinged is most certainly not for the squeamish, with Borte and screenwriter Carl Ellsworth giving Crowe free reign to unleash his inner villain. Whether it's using an axe to make short work of a front door, smashing a cup full of hot coffee into someone's face, or tying someone to a chair and setting them on fire, there is no shortage of disturbing scenes that will have some viewers cringing in their seats.

Despite an opening montage that showcases footage of real-life road rage incidents, the result is less a commentary on society and more of an exercise in gratuitous violence. That said, Unhinged does make for a satisfying guilty pleasure — and Crowe can rest assured that moviegoers will indeed be entertained.

Unhinged releases August 14th, 2020 from VVS Films. The film has an MPAA rating of R for strong violent content, and language throughout. Its runtime is 1 hr. 30 min.

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