Unhinged begins with the seemingly normal day of a soon-to-be divorced woman, Rachael (Caren Pistorius), taking her son (Gabriel Bateman) to school in the city. When a truck in front of her refuses to move at a green light, she honks too aggressively for the driver of the truck, Russell Crowe. He confronts her about her lack of a “courtesy tap,” but when she refuses to apologize, her day only gets worse from here. And, even more terrifying? The son gets a half-hour detention for being late…at an elementary school.
But this kid’s day is about to get a whole lot worse. And so is the day of everyone else in the family.
From here, Unhinged delivers jam-packed car chases, awesome gore and constant surprises. Caren Pistorius and Russell Crowe both do amazing jobs in their roles as Rachael and the crazy man (who remains unnamed throughout the film), out to kill Rachael for her lack of courtesy. Russell Crowe is such a good actor, bringing anger to his eyes when needed in scenes, sending chills down viewers’ spines even though they know it’s only an act. Caren Pistorious also expertly brings anger to her character, especially her voice at the end of the film, and she executes scenes where she is scared, like at the gas station at the very beginning, brilliantly. These car chases that these two get into become a little cumbersome after the first few, and weren’t needed for the plot, however.
As Rachael tries to save her son and her brother Johnny from Crowe’s character, viewers are introduced to more blood and gore. One scene with a butter knife made many viewers cover their eyes and another with a kitchen knife made everyone groan in disgust. The blood in these scenes was a little too much, but otherwise, the gore wasn’t too overdone – unlike so many other films. The blood makes these scenes more intense (and gross), those knife scenes included.
As she realizes her family is in grave danger, Rachael pulls her son from school. It is here that we learn fifteen-year-old Gabriel Bateman is playing an… elementary schooler? The complete state of confusion viewers were left in by trying to tell how old the boy was supposed to be when details like how he was riding in the backseat of the car in the first few scenes, yet later trudged into a large building (that looked more like a prison than any school at all) was cleared up. Only…it’s supposed to be believed that he’s an elementary schooler, despite all that?
Rachael then takes him to his grandmother’s house to hide, and finally stabs the man in the eye with a pair of jolly candy cane scissors, killing him.
Yep, the scene happened that quickly. But then, happy and go-lucky as larks, the mother and son learn Johnny is still somehow alive after being set on fire, and they go to the hospital to see him. Being a kid in the movie, after all, Bateman’s character doesn’t seem traumatized in the slightest. That is more believable for a child than for Rachael, who slides into the driver’s seat of her now (even more than before) beat-up car and drives away – with only a half-anxious glance at her review mirror.
This ending is too rushed. Somehow, after surviving a bullet to the shoulder, multiple rollover accidents, and having his stolen minivan crushed by a semi, the crazy man dies at the plunge of a pair of Christmas scissors. I expected the ending to be more…well, more. At how the movie was going, I expected no less than two or three explosions to kill the guy.
Despite the blood, brains and slightly unrealistic plotline, Unhinged is very entertaining. It’s literally an edge-of-your-seat thriller that will keep you enthralled – even if the chase scenes drag on at times.
If nothing else, I’m sure it will teach you to give a courtesy tap the next time you get behind the wheel.