Movie Review – Unhinged

unhingedThis is a hard movie to watch. With everything going on in the world right now… Well, let me just say that if you think your opinion of people could use a kick in the pants, then this movie will do just that.

But, that’s not to say the movie doesn’t have some (little) merit.

First, Russell Crowe is scary believable in this movie as a raging psychopath. After seeing this movie I sort of want to see some interviews with Crowe where he’s laughing and being normal, just so he won’t be in my nightmares tonight.


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Speaking of which, that’s exactly what I just did. Here’s a nice interview to help you wash away the grit that Crowe’s performance will leave on you.

Unhinged Pros:

The good thing about this movie is that it doesn’t waste time. It’s short (80 minutes not counting credits) and to the point.

Unhinged Cons:

I admit this is subjective, but I believe the value in a movie like this is to give the viewer an opportunity to see themselves reflected, if only a tiny bit, in the characters. We never learn anything about Russell Crowe’s character; not even his name; he’s only referred to as the man. There’s no chance to develop any empathy for him, and without that the character comes off more as a force of nature — like a tornado indiscriminately wreaking havoc — than a human being.

Fiction as Reality

The truly sad thing is that there are people out there like this. People who have been, as the man says, “Chewed up and spit out by the system.”

Our culture gives mental health only passing consideration. How many killing sprees could have been averted by someone taking a moment to give a hug and offer to help another with their issues? Most of us don’t cause the pain that others suffer through, but neither do we do much, if anything, to stop it.

The Plot and the Moral

The movie opens with the man killing a couple, presumably his ex-wife and new husband, and then burning down their house. If, on the other hand, the movie opened with a scene of an acquaintance of the man not taking the time to show a hint of concern for him as the last trigger before the man goes over the edge, then the audience could at least see themselves in that role…and wonder how many times we’ve been too wrapped up in our own drama to recognize the pain of others.

Instead the trigger in this movie is the character Rachel, honking her horn at the wrong person at the wrong time. We’ve seen that Rachel is wrapped up in her own life drama and doesn’t recognize someone else’s. She unwittingly agitates an already unstable person.

The movie ends with Rachel getting cut off and almost honking her horn at someone, but then thinking twice about it. That’s a simplistic moral of the story: don’t actively agitate people, because you never know if that’s what it takes to make them snap. On the other hand, if the story opened with someone not showing empathy, then the moral could have been: you can save a life, or perhaps many lives, by showing a modicum of compassion and understanding to those in need.

<rant>

White People Problems

After recent events, I’m more aware of the role of white privilege in everyday life.

Throughout the movie I wanted to take the man aside and say, “Dude, look at yourself. You’ve worked your whole life in middle management. You supported the system that chewed you up in the end, but in the meantime you lived in comfort and security. But instead of appreciating the privilege and comfort you have, you let yourself turn into an angry, overweight, white guy. There’s ten million black men in this country who wish they only had your problems. So suck it up, get on a treadmill, and fix yourself, because you are your problem.”

I struggle between wanting to be compassionate to the white people who are suffering through drastic change, and anger at them for wasting their privilege and then bitching about it later, as if the world owed them more. Right now I feel like those people deserve what they get, because I’m a middle aged white man and I bust my ass to stay in shape, eat right, and learn more, so I can adapt to the changing landscape we live in.

Ask me tomorrow and I’ll probably feel differently.

</rant>

Ultimately, I can’t recommend this movie because it has little redeeming value. The man isn’t some innocent victim of the system that anyone should relate to.

Grade: C

About The Peetimes: This is a short film, only 80 minutes long minus the credits. The 1st Peetime is okay, but has some story development. The 2nd Peetime is much better and is very easy to summarize. Note: Russell Crowe’s character is never given a name. I refer to him in the as either Crowe or ‘the man’ in the Peetimes.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Unhinged. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for strong violent content, and language throughout
Genres: Action, Thriller

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9 thoughts on “Movie Review – Unhinged”

  1. What a heartfelt review. I’m torn between wanting to see this now, and feeling like it would probably upset and disturb Dr. Venkman. (I mean me. Sorry. It’s a fun quote.)

    Honestly, it would probably be the disturbing thing, but damnit now I’m intrigued. How can they make a whole movie about a man sent over the edge by a simple thing like being honked at?

    Road rage…

    What actually happens in this movie?

    Like you, I spend copious time walking/running/swimming/stretching, and trying to eat healthy, and learn as much as I can each day. I like my work and find it fulfilling to explore life themes via movies, even though I don’t get wealthy off it. But I’m not complaining. Things could be a lot worse. Things in a lot of places ARE worse.

    You’re right and this might not be the right time for *Unhinged* with everything else going on. I’m just going to be grateful I have a safe place to live, that I’m with family, and I can probably wait out CoVid without too much stress. It’s not everything I ever wanted, but I can hope and plan for more.

    Maybe Unhinged can remind us to be grateful each day for the things we do have, and to remind us about compassion.

  2. You’re right, *Unhinged* reminds us about just how *bad* bad can get.

    They just left so much meat on the bone in this script. There were numerous options to frame this movie into something more worthwhile.

  3. I have to disagree with your review on this one. In spite of everything going on in the world, people still have their own trauma and stress, regardless of what they should be grateful for.
    Unhinged for me, was a cardiovascular workout!
    Russell Crowe’s character was exactly as you described, “like a tornado indiscriminately wreaking havoc”. I felt it was brilliant in that way.
    Spending those 80 minutes feeling like he / it was coming after me was a great break in my reality, day and my life.
    The character was completely “Unhinged”, so trying to get away from someone with no grasp on reality, who has lost his compassion and empathy, and wasn’t afraid of dying was terrifying!

  4. It’s just a personal preference of mine that I don’t like to watch stressful entertainment to alleviate a stressful reality. But I can appreciate that some people do. And I totally agree that “Unhinged” was a cardio workout. My heart rate increased many times. Credit has to be given to the creators for evoking that response, even though I personally don’t like it.

  5. ‘Stress entertainment’ is like ‘cringe humor’ to me. I don’t like either. I don’t enjoy watching people suffer. I’m going to have to skip Unhinged.

    That said, I do like exciting movies. I remember the first movie that made me notice sitting forward on my seat the entire time: Aliens. After the site gets nuked and the Mars Theme ends, I sat back, very exhausted, and very satisfied.

  6. I hate to disagree with you but he DOES have a name and says it a few times, the first time is on a news report about the house fire, then HE says it at the restaurant, and she (the women he is after) says it on the phone. As for knowing about him we kind of do, or can figure it out, At the restaurant he speaks of being married does not stop anyone from having sex with someone, and that lawyers are scum as they have sex with a woman who is trying to take everything from hard working men like him, and even if you look at the house before he leaves there is a for sale sign on it, so by looking at this I would say his wife filed for divorce and was having a affair before she filed and it was with a lawyer who she now lives with in HIS house. As for it being violent, yes it is, over the top, yes, but during the beginning title credits you hear about people with mental problems, (The medication he takes is for that), about people feeling as they mean nothing, and that road rage is up (which is true in the last 10 years it has risen 500%) so could this happen, yes, to this extent, more then likely not, but I think it does have a lesson to learn, (and at the end the little boy says it in a sense, by saying “good choice”) that before you blast your horn or give people the finger or yell at them, STOP, THINK, maybe they are having a bad day, and you are the last straw that puts them over the edge by doing one small thing, (I find myself doing what she did all the time and my wife gets on me about that saying Maybe they have a gun), but if someone does something you want to get angry about, STOP, think for even just 5 seconds and it will be over, and let the problems happen to someone else and not you. So I give this movie a B, not for kids or people who are scared easily, but a good scary thriller type movie.

  7. Michael, I love your passionate reply. You really did pay attention to the hints and clues that were there, and I’m impressed at what you put together. You probably have it all right, and this guy was in so much pain that this was the last straw of unkindness he could handle. That he was on medication at all shows he was trying to get better. (Not that the meds work…but he was actively working on his grief.)

    I NEVER insult anyone or give the finger while driving — or anytime ever in life. I never know what someone’s story is.

    And a horn is for accident prevention, not for showing someone you’ve upset them.

    So yes, absolutely, STOP AND THINK before you make someone’s day harder. They don’t know you and aren’t even thinking about you, so drop it.

    Your wife sounds smart. And yes, anyone might have a gun, or feel suicidal and don’t care if homicide is collateral. But also, basic human kindness can go a long way.

    I recommend watching this 90 minute documentary about the power of kindness. We all need to hear it: ‘I like you just the way you are.’

    https://runpee.com/documentary-movie-review-wont-you-be-my-neighbor/

  8. I wanted to add one more thing. When I returned to the USA from Brazil, I had been traveling over 30 hours in CoVid fear conditions. When I went through Customs to enter the USA, I was stopped and TSA agents went through everything in my bags. I was exhausted and scared about the virus and this was a something that could have put me over the edge. Instead, I had two very nice agents help me. They were so freaking kind. It really stood out.

    I took the time to find the TSA manager and pointed out the two agents and said they were helpful and compassionate, and that I wanted to give them official kudos. I got their names and the email of the TSA Contact Center. When I got home I emailed them and said, more or less, ” I know you mostly receive complaints…and this was just to let them know that I appreciated everything they do to keep us safe and that those two were outstanding employees that everyone should model themselves after.”

    If we could take FIVE MINUTES in each day to do something nice for someone else, this would be a merrier world.

  9. Thank you for your kind words, I try to notice the most I can out of a movie, since I like to go see so many in a year, and not all can be great movies. I do and am trying to not blow a horn as much as I do, but I feel that I need to teach people a lesson on how to drive, even though I know people will not learn and it just makes them mad, I mean You could have the best day ever, everything is going great, smiling and having fun, then one guy driving the wrong way threw a parking lot who flips YOU the finger will take all that great day away, its strange, but you are right you need to like the song in Frozen “Let it Go, Let it go,”. You would feel better and maybe even the world would be a better place to not give people the power over you and your emotions.

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