By Samantha Werkheiser
By some miracle, the recently released ‘Unsane’ boasts a very generous 79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
This is not a must-see film, it’s not even a should-see film.
The film focuses on Sawyer (played by Claire Foy), a woman who has moved to Pennsylvania to get away from her obsessive stalker, David (played by Joshua Leonard).
Sawyer is struggling with anxiety following her being stalked, so she visits a psychiatrist to talk about these issues. The psychiatrist baits Sawyer into saying she’s suicidal, and promptly has her committed for a 24-hour psych hold. Instead of just keeping herself calm for the unjust 24-hour hold, she attacks a fellow patient after being provoked.
This extends her stay to seven days because she consistently shows violence to the other patients.
Her stalker then shows up as a worker in the mental institution that she is imprisoned in, or does he? Is she imagining his presence? The answer is revealed almost as quickly as the audience has to ponder the mentioned questions: he’s actually there and she’s not crazy.
This early reveal is rather disappointing because it could have provided more complexity to the otherwise predictable story.
It’s also a letdown because the trailer had alluded to these questions not being answered until the end.
The weak plot points don’t stop there though.
It later comes to light that Sawyer is only being held because the mental institution is trying to make as much money off of her insurance company as possible. Institutions can involuntarily hold patients for seven days before they need a court order to keep her. There is also a weak plotline about the corruption in the institution as well, but the audience isn’t very compelled to care.
Foy’s talents are completely wasted on this movie. Frankly, it’s shocking that any of the well-established actors in this film would even agree to be in it.
Juno Temple, who plays Violet, proves to have the hardest role in the film. She played the mentally ill patient who continues to harass Sawyer. Temple was not only convincing, but was about the only fun or interesting part of this film.
Her storyline culminates in a very unnecessary and oddly placed kissed with Sawyer, and then of course, death by the hands of David. There are also apparent issues with the David story arc.
Namely how he was able to impersonate a man he had murdered in order to steal his identity. Did he also doctor this man’s drivers license to look like him?
Because most mental institutions (or employers in general) require a photo ID from their incoming employees. It’s understood that most movies in this genre require the audience to suspend their disbelief a little.
However, this was hard to do because the movie contained too many problems and was a bore at times. In addition to the issues with the story, there were many visual problems too.
The entire movie is filmed on an iPhone 7, and that fact is pretty obvious. The camera work is shaky, and there are tons of awkward up-close shots for no reason. It is also entirely too dark in many of the scenes, especially in the portion that is supposed to take place in Sawyer’s solitary confinement.
Overall, more was expected from well-established director Steven Soderbergh.
Soderbergh has directed the all of the ‘Ocean’s’ trilogy films and other crowd pleasers like ‘Magic Mike’ and ‘Logan Lucky’.
‘Unsane’ was an unpleasant surprise from the director and star-studded cast alike. Here’s to hoping that Soderbergh avoids doing psychological thrillers for the time being.
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