Unhinged film review: Rusty rages in taut thriller

Road rager: Russell Crowe is unbalanced and murderous in the intense new thriller Unhinged, rated MA15+, in cinemas now.
Road rager: Russell Crowe is unbalanced and murderous in the intense new thriller Unhinged, rated MA15+, in cinemas now.

Russell Crowe is a very, very bad man in his latest movie.

The Aussie (he may have been born across the ditch, but we claim him) Oscar-winner stars in new thriller Unhinged as a man who decides he's going to teach a fellow driver 'a lesson' for the road action he deems unsuitable.

He sets about following the driver - Kiwi actress Caren Pistorious as Rachel - and harassing her and her family and friends, to murderous ends.

Thankfully, it's quite clear from the beginning of the film that Rusty's character (Tom Cooper) is a villain.

At no point are we expected to sympathise with him or feel for him. He's a bad guy and he's portrayed as such.

It is because of this that the audience can take so much fun from the truly intense, violent and chaotic action of the film.

Much of Unhinged takes place on the road, and the driving/traffic sequences are technically very impressive.

They feel immersive, and instantly relatable, but also terrifying. You can almost feel the impact of some of the bigger crashes.

And the short and sweet running time - just 90 minutes - allows you to speed along with the action without allowing your brain to fester on the (quite a few) plot holes that crop up when you think about the movie too much.

Crowe is great as the despicable, hateful and persistent Cooper. The villainous turn harks back to his breakout role in Romper Stomper.

Pistorious - who many may remember from her time playing nurse Eloise on Offspring - is also fantastic. She conjures up some real, believable fear and, like Rusty, delivers a commendable American accent.

Young actor Gabriel Bateman - already a horror veteran at just 15 after starring in Child's Play, Lights Out, Annabelle and the (highlight underrated) series American Gothic - also holds his own against his celebrated co-star as Rachel's son.

If there's one thing that Unhinged really succeeds at, it's making its audience just that little bit fearful of getting back on the road after the movie ends. Every intersection seems malevolent, each passing car harbouring the potential to house a homicidal maniac.

Be sure to drive safe.

Rating: 7.5/10

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