Plot in a nutshell:
Stuck in traffic whilst taking her son to school and in the midst of the morning from hell, Karen Hunter (Caren Pistorius) sounds her horn in anger at the driver of a 4×4 truck who hasn’t realised the traffic lights have gone green. Said driver (an almost unrecognisable Russell Crowe) then pulls up alongside her at the next stop and demands an apology which she, naturally refuses to give – big mistake. Crowe’s character (only credited here as ‘The Man’) then proceeds to give new meaning to the phrase ‘road rage’ and goes after Karen, her son and anyone else connected to her in a violent spree of retribution.
Well to be blunt, there isn’t much not to like about this film. For its entire 93 minutes Unhinged speeds along at a rollicking pace and is never less than completely entertaining. Crowe is extremely good as the villain of the piece -a sweaty, overweight volcano of pent up rage, prone to shocking bouts of extreme violence, Pistorius is also excellent as the hapless Karen, plus young Gabriel Bateman is a stand out as her endearingly clever son Kyle.
The action scenes are also well handled – lots of car chases, escapism and ‘look behind you moments’ plus the whole affair is more than competently directed by Derrick Borte (The Jonses).
What could have been better?
Well not much really – what you see is what you get and the film never tries to be anything other than what it is.
I will say this though – the whole concept is extremely unbelievable – no matter how bad things are in your life (and Crowe’s character has gone through the ringer – believe me) there is no way anyone would be so offended by being tooted at by another driver that they would go to the go to the lengths he does to kill Pistorius and her son.
Then of course the whole concept of the Road Rage Killer plot isnt exactly new and has been seen in many a film before – Joy Ride, Falling Down and Duel to name but three.
Finally, as damn good as he is here, one must wonder what on earth Russell Crowe is doing in throwaway tosh like this. Yes ok he is top notch as the main character and the film is a proper slice of Saturday night entertainment, but Crowe’s CV boasts a litany of intelligent award-winning roles in films that have far more depth, breadth and longevity than what is on show here – so in other words Russ – you know you can do better movies mate.
Well made with some shocking violence, exciting action scenes, and a pace that never lets up, Crowe is excellent as ever but if you are looking for anything approaching originality or believability then Unhinged may not be for you – however, those who fancy a trip back to the cinema to see a film that will really entertain and excite then you could do alot worse than Unhinged.