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film reel image

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Unsane 2018 * * * 1/2 Stars

UnsaneDirector: Steven Soderbergh
Year: 2018
Rated R
Rating: * * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah

When I think of maverick directors, Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, and Steven Soderbergh always come to mind. 2018's Unsane (my latest review) has Soderbergh shooting his entire film with an iPhone 7 Plus. That's right, an iPhone. Some would call this careless but Stevie boy never misses a beat. The dude can pretty much do anything for he is a total guerrilla.

Now I read somewhere that Soderbergh had retired as a filmmaker. Yeah whatever. He just couldn't stay away could he. His Unsane is a motion picture that will keep you enthralled and sock in the throat at the same time.

Unsane is a trademark or better yet a benchmark of all things Steven Soderbergh (minus any sighting of Channing Tatum). It's occasionally flashy yet somber. It's effective without harboring a huge budget. Its got a look that is equal parts dark, hazy, and fading. Its got a mild-mannered Matt Damon (in a cameo no less). Finally, it has one of those striking soundtrack scores courtesy of Thomas Newman.

Unsane while released under the radar, is an excellent side companion to Soderbergh's 2013 masterpiece, Side Effects (another foray into female psychiatric illness). Note to Steven: Please don't think about retiring again. You're a revolutionary and a cinematic badass.

Anyway, Unsane is about a thirty-something woman who involuntarily checks herself into a mental institution. She gets tricked I suppose or straight-up bamboozled. To make matters worse, she has a supposed stalker from two years ago who works at the same darn institution. There's more to the story so I'm not gonna give it away. All I'm gonna say is that Unsane starts out as an incensed drama only to turn into an upsetting and interminable thriller.

Image result for unsane movie scenesSteven Soderbergh goes for broke as he makes his audience have feelings of nil hope, misunderstood rage, and gnawing chimera. His Unsane is a violent incubus, directed with numerous close-ups, low camera angles, and featuring powerful performances by its leads (Joshua Leonard and Claire Foy). Soderbergh, relegated to small scale trim while pushing the independent envelope, doesn't want you to awaken from his sprawling nightmare on screen. He has fashioned one of the best films of this year. Rating: 3 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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