UNHINGED – Review by Susan Granger

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The next time the traffic light turns green and the driver ahead of you doesn’t immediately move forward, think twice before angrily honking your horn. That’s the message of this cautionary road-rage rampage.

Set in New Orleans, it’s pouring rain as hulking Tom Cooper (Russell Crowe) removes his wedding ring before methodically murdering and incinerating his ex-wife and her new lover in their home.

Cut to Rachel (Caren Pistorius) who oversleeps; she’s late to drop off her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) at school. A single mother, negotiating a messy divorce, she’s impatient. Angrily, she honks at the driver of a Ford pick-up truck who lingers at an intersection after a red light turns green.

Oops! That driver is menacing, misogynistic Tom Cooper who – as we later discover – has not only lost his wife but also his job. As a result, he’s become a maniacal psycho-killer.

Soon, Rachel becomes the focus for his gruesome fury: “I don’t think you know what a really bad day is, but you’re going to find out.”

When he steals her cell phone and scans her contact list, it turns out that he’s determined to hunt down, assault and kill everyone she holds dear.

The action-packed screenplay was written by Carl Ellsworth (“Disturbia,” “Red Eye”) and formulaically directed by Derrick Borte (“American Dreamer”), who keeps snarling, glowering Crowe behind the wheel, pedal-to-the-metal most of the time.

While lumbering Crowe is certainly competent as “The Man,” it’s a crazed, sadistic role, a volatile part that might easily have gone to Nicolas Cage or Mel Gibson.

Originally scheduled for July, “Unhinged” is the first major release since the COVID pandemic closed theaters. Reminiscent of old Charles Bronson killer-thrillers, it’s already opened in Crowe’s native Australia, along with Canada, Germany and England. According to global box-office reports, it’s earned $1.7 million but it needs to gross $30 million in the US to be considered profitable.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Unhinged” is a feisty 5. Not worth risking a trip to the theater; wait for it on VOD.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.