Unsane (2018)

A woman is involuntarily committed to a mental institution where she is confronted by her greatest fear.


Steven Soderbergh made Unsane with an iPhone (the technology's proof of concept assured by Sean Baker's Tangerine), which is very much a "medium is the message" idea, because the film is at least in part about the paranoia of being watched. Soderbergh might have shot the film more classically to prove the camera could do other things, but instead he makes it voyeuristic, like a device you don't know is on and filming you. In the film, a woman who believes she sees her stalker everywhere ends up institutionalized against her will, and her stalker may well be working there. Everything about this flick is designed to make you feel apprehensive and uneasy, and I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone who has mental health issues. It's just not going to reassure you or make you want to get the help you need. Wrapped up in this effective thriller is a commentary of how victims of stalking (or any man-on-woman crime, perhaps) are treated, this extreme case of gaslighting metaphorical ground for how one feels in such a situation. And this may be a trivial note, but stay for the entire credits. You'll understand why I said that once you have.

2 years ago


If you have paid any attention to the marketing of Unsane, Steven Soderbergh shot the whole thing on his iPhone 7+. He's been selling it as revolutionary, and that no one will notice but… obviously it's noticeable. I really think it worked for this particular story though. But I don't see how it's "revolutionary".

If you follow Soderbergh at all, you would know that he makes films like Magic Mike and Ocean's essentially to get funding for his experimental projects. (A Best Director Oscar probably helps as well.)

I really enjoyed Unsane. The first act is exactly the premise that the trailer advertises, and not much goes on. But the second and third acts… are on another level.

It had me not only unaware of what would happen next, but actively guessing. That's something special, when the audience is thinking and piecing things together.

Is it perfect? No. A lot of the things that happen are completely utterly impossible, and obviously so. Also, certain decisions the lead makes are unquestionably strange and don't make sense when you look back at the final product.

All in all, solidly entertaining but imperfect thriller.

2 years ago

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