Movie review: Unhinged
The biggest takeaway from this road rage psychological thriller is don't honk your horn at a bad driver when a "courtesy tap" will suffice.
The other moral of the story? Don't mess with Russell Crowe.
Especially when he is - say it with me - unhinged.
The movie opens with an aggrieved, resentful man (Crowe) murdering his ex-wife and setting her home on fire.
And then a young single mother (Caren Pistorius) crosses paths with him on the road. He becomes hell-bent on revenge after their unpleasant confrontation, stalking and tormenting her as well as everyone she knows.
Cue the car chases and multi-vehicle crashes along freeways, busy streets and even a senior neighbourhood.
Unhinged represents what is happening around the world today, particularly in America, and taps into the indignation, fury, rudeness and selfishness of people who are stressed out, medicated and on edge, and are taking it out on each other or themselves.
At the same time, inequality, depression, substance abuse and misogyny come together to form a big roiling ball of toxic white masculinity.
Crowe's antagonist isn't opening fire in public, but uses a car - and anything he can find around him - as his weapon to commit sadistic, shocking acts of violence.
Sweaty, obese and feeling dismissed, Crowe has never looked so bad or behaved so badly.
Add to that his real-life reputation for having anger management issues and his public altercations (who can forget his telephone-throwing tantrum at a hotel concierge?), and his performance becomes that much more terrifying.
Indeed, we haven't seen the 56-year-old Oscar winner this malevolent since his turn in Virtuosity some 25 years ago.
Like that regenerating android serial killer, Crowe is quite literally an unstoppable killing machine in Unhinged.
That's just one reason why this B-movie ultimately loses control and drives itself off the road, as it takes sillier and crazier turns before it grinds to an abrupt halt.
In a world where surveillance is 24/7, our villain - hardly a professional career criminal - proves so unbelievably elusive that hopeless law enforcement simply cannot catch up, to the point where he is free to mow down whoever he wants, whenever he wants - even with a serious bullet wound.
Pistorius' victim isn't exactly someone you would root for either, as she makes a series of head-scratching choices before reaching her own boiling point and fighting back just as aggressively.
STARRING: Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson
DIRECTOR: Derrick Borte
THE SKINNY: After a young single mother (Pistorius) has a run-in with an unstable stranger (Crowe) at a traffic light, she finds herself and everyone she loves the target of a man who feels invisible and is looking to make one last mark on the world by teaching her a series of deadly lessons.