For rachel, one immediately has sympathy. The stressed mother is once again late in the morning. With son kyle in the back seat, who has to go to school, she is stuck in a traffic jam.
The still-husband is annoying on the phone with divorce stuff, the most important customer is calling because rachel is not on time for the appointment. And then there’s this: a truck is in front of her at a green light and doesn’t move off. Rachel presses the horn annoyed, then overtakes a little too fast on the right side.
It is a rather harmless case of aggression in traffic that leads to a real wutorgie in the thriller "unhinged – out of control. For at the wheel of the truck sits russell crowe. A look at his bearded, slightly puffy face says it all: this can’t go well.
"You know what a courtly horn is, young man," he yells at kyle through the open car window at the next opportunity. "How about an apology from your mother?." Rachel fires back. There was nothing to apologize for – but a small "sorry" had saved a lot of fake blood and dozens of car wrecks.
"Unhinged," which literally translates as "unhinged" far too pallidly, is hollywood’s first action thriller, which after the corona pandemic is now expected to once again rivet viewers to their seats with cinematic favors. Running amok and traffic jams – michael douglas in "falling down" also comes to mind. In 1993, joel schumacher filmed the murderous outburst of rage of a middle-class man threatened by social decline who goes completely berserk in los angeles. He’s lost his job, ex-wife shuns him.
But this william foster has a name and a past, after all. In "unhinged," crowe is merely "the man," about whose life and motives little is known. They wanted to completely strip the character of humanity, compassion, charm and humor, crowe tells news agency dpa in an interview. "None of his actions are justifiable in any way"."
Instead of psychological depth, director derrick borte ("family jones – too perfect to be true") goes for pure thrills with lots of shock effects. The merciless pursuer has nothing else in mind but to teach rachel and her family a lesson. In breakneck car chases, passers-by and police officers are hit, even rachel’s lawyer andy (jimmi simpson) is killed in a most brutal way.
The young mother (caren pistorius) puts her foot down on the gas pedal of her old station wagon and fights off the attacker. The sudafrican-born pistorius ("mortal engines"), who came to new zealand as a teenager, does this with aplomb. "I see this as a david vs. Goliath story, and i’m glad that david is a woman who stands her ground in the situation," pistorius tells dpa in an interview.
For crowe this is a rather unusual role. Most recently, the character actor has played multi-layered characters in smaller productions. In january, he won the golden globe for best lead actor in the mini-series "the loudest voice". In it, he faulted roger ailes, head of the right-wing conservative u.S. Channel fox news. In the independent drama "the prodigal son" he was a baptist preacher who does not accept his gay son. He won the oscar for best leading actor as the "gladiator" star with a mixture of heart and toughness.
Crowe wanted to turn down the role in "unhinged" at first. "No fucking way," was his first reaction to the script, recalls the actor. He must have been afraid of the dark subject matter, crowe says. But in his career, he has often ended up choosing the things he was most afraid of.
The audience is not spared fear. "Unhinged" grates on the nerves with plenty of blood and shock moments, especially after a long break from cinema in rough format on the big screen. There’s one lesson you definitely learn: it’s best not to press the horn too long.
Unhinged – out of control, USA 2020, 90 min., FSK ab 16, by derrick borte, with russell crowe, jimmi simpson, caren pistorius