Unhinged starts off with an explosive and violent act by lead star Russell Crowe followed by the opening credits projected over news clips of growing senseless violence from road rage and the general street violence we encounter today. It seems to be setting up the tone for the movie to make some sort of statement or commentary on the sad state of affairs of public intolerance and the use of violence today. Sadly, this was not to be the case as the film seem to have a much lower target level to be just an excuse to display 90 minutes of violence from extreme rage and very destructive vehicle collisions.
Russell Crowe plays the role of a deranged fallen man who meets an impatient woman driver who honked at him on busy morning drive. That simple discourteous act seem to have triggered some mental cross wire in the man and he spends the rest of the day hunting and haunting the poor woman in an extreme act of road rage. What is interesting about the premise of the movie is that the whole plot takes place within the day. This is not something easy to do as you have basically a limited scope and characters to play with that can hold the attention of the viewer. I sort of get it that the Russell Crowe character is supposed to be sympathetic as he is a victim of circumstances and got to the stage he was in through a series of bad things not going his way. It reminded me a bit of the Michael Douglas character in the 1993 movie Falling Down who also had a similar day of violent lashing out and breakdown. However, while Falling Day succeeded in making feel empathy for his character, Unhinged never provided enough background to Russell Crowe’s character to make him come across beyond a violent killing machine. This one dimensional portrayal of the character makes the whole thing end up feeling like a torture porn movie rather than a intellectual statement and view against the corrosion of human decency and mental health of modern society today. Perhaps I was hoping for a different kind of movie when it began which kind of screwed up meeting my expectation. Can I be blamed for expecting something better when you have a headliner name like Russell Crowe who has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor multiple times (and winning for Gladiator) in the marquee? I have to admit that he was the main reason for me to watch this and I found it a bit sad to see him out of shape and acting in an undemanding role like this. He can do much better ..