Blu-ray Review: Unhinged

STUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Derrick Borte | CAST: Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Jimmi Simpson, Gabriel Bateman
RELEASE DATE: Nov. 17, 2020 | PRICE: DVD $14.96, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $19.99
BONUSES: commentary, featurette
SPECS: R | 93 min. | Action thriller | 2.39:1 widescreen | Dolby TrueHD 7.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall 

A portlier-than-normal Russell Crowe (The Nice Guys) goes all Nicolas Cage in Unhinged, an ultra-violent, rock’em-sock’em road rage thriller with an incredibly sharp edge.

Russell Crowe is Unhinged

Crowe is credited as “Man,” a bearded, unhinged New Orleans resident with a Southern drawl. After committing a savage act of violence, Man’s anger turns into rage when Rachel (Caren Pistorius, Gloria Bell), a divorced mother driving her 15-year-old son (Gabriel Bateman) to school, beeps his car during a traffic stop. The Man soon begins terrorizing the pair and others close to them, in a series of dangerous car chases and bloody face-to-face confrontations.

Unhinged is technically impressive: the elaborate car sequences are riveting and flawlessly filmed. German-born director Derrick Borte (The Joneses) knows his way around quick pacing and well-orchestrated bursts of violence. The script by Carl Ellsworth (Disturbia) adds a coat of contemporary gloom and doom to the genre surroundings.

But rather than a jolt of excitement you could get from the hyperactive auto material, Unhinged starts off bleak and then grows bleaker. It’s essentially a car-crash film with the stakes highly personal. The film’s shock quotient is based on the monstrous behavior of Crowe’s character, which turns out to be much more than enough, thank you.

The film has similarities to Joel Schumacher’s 1993 drama Falling Down, which tracks Michael Douglas’s violent, daylong trek across Los Angeles. While set in different times, both films concern disillusioned, middle-aged white men who believe society has done them wrong…prompting them to resort to unrestrained nastiness.

Considered to be the first studio film to be released to select theaters during the pandemic lockdown, Unhinged proved to be a minor hit with a $40 million international box-office take.

Buy or Rent Unhinged

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.