A young woman leaves her hometown to escape a troubled past and begin a new job. When she is involuntarily committed to a mental institution she is confronted by her greatest fear – but is it real or just her delusion?
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Soderbergh uses cheap digital tech to brilliantly disturbing effect: the warping of the image, the blooms of light, the uncanny clarity of raw HD close-ups, the way a static composition can feel like a prison. If you're wondering what today's equivalent of treasured 1950s B-movies would be—so brash, so formally inventive, so trashy in some ways but clever in others—this is it. So grab your phone and get cracking.
A sui generis update of George Cukor's Gaslight (1944), Unsane is as experimental and avant-garde as Brian De Palma's Redacted (2007) and Mike Figgis' Timecode (2000). It's a movie about cinema (the medium) shot with an iPhone that I watched on a tablet.
Really a 3 (a solid 3) but it gets an extra star for infuriating me about its *real* subject. This is why I hate hospitals and insurance companies and big pharma. I liked it but I'm never watching it again.
Unsane is a great horror film as well as being an excellent experimental film with a fine narrative. About a woman with PTSD attempting to flee her stalker who winds up trapped in a mental institution, the film is intensely claustrophobic and suspenseful and is able to provide commentary and insight on a number of subjects and issues that are frighteningly contemporary and prevalent. [cont.]
The best thing about Unsane is that her sanity is never in question. She is clearly committed against her will. The worst thing about Unsane is the repetitive plot and thin characters that can't sustain the concept, and this thriller has an absence, of well, nicely-executed thrills. It's, however, not for a lack of trying to take it up a notch in the finale, yet it still lacks in pulse-racing, all-bets-are-off bite.
Steven Soderbergh bites off a ton with "Unsane" — his second post-retirement film — and rather than choking on all the weighty themes, he sufficiently gulps them down and lets you be the one to digest. This is a bone-chilling examination of gaslighting and the cruel disadvantage women have against fragile men and capitalist institutions, to the point where trusting yourself becomes a near impossibility. Still shaken
UNSANE is a sterling instance of a screenplay being wildly subverted, overhauled, dragged through the dirt by a visionary director pursuing just such a vision. It is a berserker screenplay that asks us to accept preposterous things and it can only work if the film itself goes full-on brainsick. The phenomenal utilization of new technology made me think of Vinterberg's FESTEN, to which it is in all respects superior.