Movie Review: Unhinged

Over the summer I was reading Fangoria, and I came across information about a new movie starring Russell Crowe called Unhinged. I looked it up and learned that not only was it about engaging in road rage with the wrong guy, but it was coming to movie theaters. With COVID running rampant across the world, I definitely didn’t put myself at risk by going to a theater to watch this movie. However, I couldn’t wait to see it when the film made its debut on streaming platforms. I’m glad I did because it’s one of Russell Crowe’s finest performances and a rollercoaster of emotions.

The first thing I noticed when watching Unhinged is how heavy Russell Crowe is in this movie. He looks like he weighs somewhere between 250 and 300 pounds, with a protruding, round belly and a plump face. Not only did he take on this role by physically altering his appearance to a dramatic degree, he completely loses himself in this role, becoming a diabolical character that is charismatic, methodical, and frightening. For an actor to take such extreme steps to transform himself for a role — both physically and emotionally — is incredible. For this reason alone, Unhinged is worth watching.

Unhinged is part thriller and part horror movie. It starts with a jaw-dropping scene that seems as though it was pulled out of the latest Halloween movie — reaching through the screen and grabbing viewers’ attention in a way I didn’t even expect. And the premise behind the film, which is angrily honking your horn at the wrong person and refusing to apologize, is a palpable one. All of us, at one time in our lives, have either been the driver or the passenger in a car, behind a vehicle that refuses to move, either because they are distracted or simply a bad driver. As the movie’s opening montage demonstrates, the frequency and intensity of road rage is a frightening dilemma. After watching this film, you’ll think twice about honking at that stranger in front of you.

This is one of those movies where you need to suspend your disbelief. Fantastical things happen that might not be completely plausible. But who cares? I go into movies to have fun. I’m looking for a good time, not a realistic take on a road rage incident. I want to be entertained, pleasantly surprised, and provided with a story that has a satisfactory conclusion. Unhinged has all of these elements, and more. I only felt it drag during one chase scene because it was too long. Other than that, it was a thrill ride like no other, punctuated by well-developed characters and great acting. Just as John Travolta blew my mind in The Fanatic by totally inhabiting the mind and body of a character unlike his own, Russell Crowe does the same in Unhinged. It’s now my favorite Russell Crowe movie, and one you must watch.

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