‘UNHINGED’ is a thriller released in some SM cinemas during the Halloween weekend. The opening credits sequence is the best thing in the movie. It shows a harrowing montage of real life incidents edited together, all about our tension-filled world today, showing violent examples of road rage, confrontation between total strangers, including very stressful scenes of war, strife, pollution and other signs of social decay which you often see in news and documentary footage.
This compelling dramatic opening sequence aptly sets the tone of the movie, which stars Russell Crowe as a deranged man, Tom Cooper. We first see him sitting alone in his car on a rainy night. He then gets off the car with a hammer in his hand then goes to a house and bludgeons his ex-wife and another man to death, then pours gasoline on their house and sets it on fire.
In the next scene, we see Rachel (Caren Pistorius, “Cargo”, “Mortal Engines”), a young mother who is in the middle of a divorce settlement with her husband. She wakes up later to take her teen son to school. She’s having a bad hair day and while rushing to drive to school, they have to contend with rush hour traffic.
Then the pick up truck in front of their car in an intersection won’t budge when the traffic light turns green, so she honks her horn. The truck’s drive turns out to be the loony Cooper, who asks her to apologize for honking at him. Rachel won’t apologize so they have a heated exchange of words and she runs off.
Cooper chases her but she manages to lose him and takes her son safely to school. But later, Cooper gets to track her down at a gas station and while she is paying inside the store, he steals her cellphone. Through this, he is able to get to her divorce lawyer who she is supposed to meet, Andy, ahead of her, and kills the innocent guy in front of all the other customers inside a restaurant.
Things get from bad to worse as Cooper continues to stalk Rachel, harming and killing other people. The violence escalates until Rachel and her son are holed up inside her mother’s house where she and Cooper have their very violent final confrontation.
The best way to view this film is to see it as a cautionary tale for one to be cool and not so hot headed because you never know if the one other driver you’re antagonizing in a case of road rage is a nutcase. We all know of such cases that have ended in a useless tragedy, like in that of Eldon Maguan and Rolito Go.
“Unhinged” ends with Rachel driving her car when another cuts across in front of her. She nearly honks her horn again but stops herself from doing it, to which her son quips: “Good choice.” They both know all the hassle with Cooper could have been avoided if only she swallowed her pride and apologized to him.
No doubt the film works as a thriller because we get to completely sympathize with Rachel and her son, and all the other innocent victims that Cooper maim or kill. Russell Crowe is best known for his Oscar-winning role as Maximus in “Gladiator”, where he is finely muscled. Now, he is grossly overweight and gone to seed as the villainously single-minded Cooper who just wants to go on a rampage and kill anyone who gets on his way. And yes, Crowe can be very menacing and ruthless as the psychotic Cooper.
Those who enjoy watching senseless violence and carnage won’t be disappointed as the deranged Cooper is totally like a mad dog that just runs amuck without any sensible reason behind his actions. The movie delivers exactly the kind of thrills you’d expect from this kind of fare. If you are driving your own car, then we’re sure road rage has also happened to you and you can somewhat relate with the movie because “Unhinged” taps into that. But if you couldn’t, then you’re probably taking the bus, jeep, the MRT or LRT.