Russell Crowe Gives You a Bad Day in Unhinged Now Streaming on Prime Video
Russell Crowe is a fantastic leading man, capable of portraying a whistleblowing tobacco researcher in The Insider, an honorable warrior in Gladiator, and a mentally troubled mathematician in A Beautiful Mind. Each of those movies came out one year after the other, with Crowe receiving Oscar nods for each and winning for Gladiator. His versatility is unquestionable, and so I was immediately intrigued by Unhinged, where the actor plays an average joe who “snaps” and goes on a killing spree. Unfortunately, the movie was not as interested in watching Crowe as I was.
Unhinged tells us the story of stressed-out Rachel (Caren Pistorious) and her preteen son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman). Rachel has been going through a rough divorce, and an early morning call from her lawyer Andy (Jimmi Simpson) informing her that her ex wants the house too, only makes things rougher. Realizing that she overslept, Rachel grabs Kyle and takes him to school in her crappy car. Kyle, agitated, reminds his mom that if he gets one more tardy, it’s detention. Rachel tries a risky freeway shortcut but gets trapped in an even worse gridlock. When she finally exits, the guy in front doesn’t budge when the light is green. Rachel gives him some long, angry honks and drives past. Little does she know that the guy she dared to deny common courtesy to is Crowe’s “Man,” a killer who wants to teach her a lesson in the worst way.
Notice how little Crowe appears in that setup. Aside from a brutal murder in the prologue, we never see him until we’ve sat in the car with Rachel and Kyle for what feels like ages, and that ride is not nearly as compelling as Russell Crowe killing somebody. He gets decent screen time the rest of the movie and has a lot of fun in the role (we get a delightfully brutal diner confrontation), but for a movie about a killer, Unhinged isn’t very interested in him; it is only interested in the fact that he is a killer, which, as the movie implies, could be anybody.
Unhinged is entertaining enough, but just doesn’t give its own star enough material to be a star.