Review: Unsane

6 10

PLOT: A business woman (Claire Foy) in Chicago finds herself unwittingly committed to a mental hospital as part of an insurance scam. Making matters infinitely worse - her former stalker (Joshua Leonard) infiltrates the hospital staff and torments her.

REVIEW: Steven Soderbergh’s UNSANE is being advertised as his first dip into the horror genre, but that’s a little off-base. A highly experimental psychological thriller shot in two weeks on an iPhone 7 Plus, this is the kind of thing that would only ever be made on a shoestring budget, and would likely never get a theatrical release were it not for Soderbergh’s name attached to it. In that way, it feels very much in line with his experimental BUBBLE, FULL FRONTAL and THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, with a dab of SIDE EFFECTS thrown-in.

In that vein, UNSANE is an oddball but not un-entertaining experiment. For one thing, the visual quality of the film is surprisingly good, showing you just how far the technology has come, with only a few frames being dropped when the camera moves around, a taller than usual aspect ratio and duller color palette to clue you-in that this has been shot in a different way than anything else. It looks far better than those early 2000’s digitally shot films, and if shooting on an iPhone allows interesting directors more freedom, I’m all for it.

But, UNSANE is still far from Soderbergh’s best, and often it just feels like he’s goofing around behind the camera, using this as a way to play with new toys and to see if he can shoot something with this kind of technology. Luckily, Soderbergh’s never not proficient, and he’s aided by an interesting hook, where a stressed-out business woman makes the mistake of confessing suicidal ideation to a therapist and finds herself a prisoner in a clinic for seven days.

Claire Foy, in what feels like a dry run for playing Lisbeth Salander in THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB has an easy time making the audience forget her former regal image on “The Crown”, making her an edgy heroine who just keeps digging a deeper hole for herself. Joshua Leonard, as the stalker who poses as a staff member at the asylum is a memorable creep, but again nothing happens between them that you haven’t seen before. Still, it entertains, especially in the last half hour or so, and former SNL-er Jay Pharoah has a nice role as a helpful patient with a flair for sleuthing.

Overall, it’s a decent little movie, but unlikely to really move an audience that isn’t devoted to Soderbergh, but for fans of his it works well enough, especially once one of his MVP’s shows up for a cameo. Even Soderbergh goofing off is better than other folks working at the peak of their talent.

Source: JoBlo.com



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