3/10 After theaters shut down in March, 81 days passed before only three independent theaters opened back up and I was able to see six mostly terrible movies (shout out to “The Invisible Man” for being the only great film of those six) before all theaters in Arizona shut down again. Now, on the first day theaters were able to open back up again, I made my way back to that enticing smell of popcorn and overpriced concessions to be enjoyed in a dark room in a comfy recliner. As happy as I was to be back at my home away from home, my enjoyment was slightly dampened by the fact that I saw “Unhinged” starring diabetic Russell Crowe. There are some fun elements to the movie but overall, this is a rental at best and not a movie that has to be seen in theaters (unless you are like me and want to see anything and everything in theaters at this point since it has been so long). As for those few elements that work, the movie is an hour and a half so the pacing is great and you are entertained from start to finish. Once the movie starts, it never really lets up, which was nice. Some of the cinematography worked well as you feel the unease and claustrophobic feeling of being trapped in a car with an overwhelming sense of doom hanging over you. I also enjoyed that the movie embraced its R rating and didn’t shy away from the violence, language and Crowe’s sadistic nature so props to the film makers for that. Unfortunately, that is where the positives come to a stop sign. The rest of the movie is ridiculous and far-fetched to say the least. For starters, I just didn’t buy the entire premise. Crowe, billed as “The Man”, is on medication, mentally unstable, has rage issues and is bitter from his divorce and his wife having moved on. The opening scene sees him dealing with that, which was fine. However, if you’ve seen the trailer you will know that a woman simply (and rightfully I might add) honking at Crowe in his car, causes him to go to extremes to punish her and make her suffer for this simple act. I get Crowe’s mental state making him a bit crazy, but out of all the people to take his rage out on, I couldn’t get behind the notion that it would be this woman and her son. The script is a bad one for several reasons but the biggest problem is that there are so many convenient coincidences. Our female protagonist, Rachel, conveniently leaves her phone in her unlocked car while at a gas station. Crowe’s character conveniently is able to randomly find her at that gas station (before he is able to track her via phone). Even the small details that most people don’t notice fall short. The first example is that when Rachel is on the phone and the other line hangs up, you hear a clicking/phone hanging up noise. That is a real noise that land line phones would make when you would physically put them down to end the call. Current cell phones don’t make that noise when being hung up. The other minor detail that made me roll my eyes is when Rachel goes to her son’s elementary school and in the front office there just so happens to be a TV playing the news about Crowe murdering someone on it. There is no way an elementary school would be showing the news, especially considering its violent content. Every elementary school I have ever been in that has a TV just has school announcements on a loop so to see the news involving the psycho stalking Rachel was really unrealistic. Another huge problem is that our lead protagonist is extremely dumb. I’m talking horny teenager in a slasher movie dumb. Literally the entire movie and all of her problems would have been avoided if she was an even slightly responsible adult who did things like set an alarm in the morning, use a GPS and fill her car with gas before it runs out. Those simple tasks of “adulting” are too much for this low IQ individual. She makes so many poor decisions (her kid does too near the end) that I found myself rooting for Crowe to just kill them and rid us of their stupidity. Lastly, smart films will drop information early on into films with that information being useful later in the film or becoming important by the film’s end. This foreshadowing, when done well, is very effective. Here however, it is so obvious and done with such moronic elements (Rachel’s son discussing Fortnite early on ends up becoming a product placement plot point later) that screenwriter Carl Ellsworth fails miserably in what he is attempting. In closing, if you are anxious to get back to the cinemas, you might want to hold out for “Tenet” since this movie was about as enjoyable as getting into a fender bender.
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