DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema
Director - Steven Soderbergh - 2018

"Mostly clean movie"
Entirely shot on iPhone, Steven Soderbergh's latest film starts out as a complex and moving psychological drama, but then slips into action and slasher clichés - in cinemas March 23rd

Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) has recently relocated from Boston to Pennsylvania. She looks a like a credible and successful young woman, with a good job and elegant attire. One day she meets a handsome guy from Tinder and takes him home. Suddenly, she snaps. And we realise that something isn’t entirely right. Is Sawyer just being ultra-cautious following a dangerous and traumatic experience with a past partner, or she simply neurotic and insane?

She visits a psychiatric facility in order to discuss her fears, and says that she’s fleeing a stalker. She also reveals that she occasionally has suicidal thoughts, but has never carried out any attempts. She’s suddenly locked up against her will. At first, she’s not entirely sure what’s happening. A patient says that she’s the victim of insurance fraud (the organisation will be claiming money from her insurer). Sawyer claims that her stalker is one of the psychiatrists, but no one takes her seriously. Is it possible that she’s telling the truth, and that she’s a genuine victim of bizarre combination of stalking and gaslighting?

At first, Unsane feels like a effective psychological drama with a lot of depth, akin to Soderbergh’s previous film Solaris (2002) and Bubble (2005). The iPhone images lend the movie a tense quality: could it be that the poor resolution of the images mirror Sawyer’s mental state? But then roughly halfway through the 98-minute film, it begins to morph into a banal action thriller and then finally into a slasher/shocker. Plus, some narrative devices are disjointed and unnecessary, such as the use of the colour blue (the film starts with an outdoors sequence in blue, then the colour appears again in a dress and a solitary confinement facility, but I have absolutely no idea what Soderbergh is trying to say).

The political message of insurance fraud and failed capitalism also feels extremely drab. Plus, the portrayal of the psychiatric facility as a dysfunctional and hellish madhouse run by greedy crooks and populated with dangerous and unpleasant patients won’t do any favours to people and organisations dealing with the burden and the stigma of mental health.

Maybe this could be a film satisfactory enough for a first-time director still developing their language and style, but not for a film veteran Steven Soderbergh with several masterpieces of psychological drama already under his belt. Ultimately, Unsane feels UNmatured and UNdeveloped.

Unsane showed in the 68th Berlin International Film Festival, when this piece was originally written. It’s out in cinemas across the UK on Friday, March 23rd.

If you wish to find out more about mental health problems and their treatment, please click here.



"Mostly clean movie"

By Victor Fraga - 24-02-2018

By Victor Fraga - 24-02-2018

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based writer with more than 15 years of involvem...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

The world is blithely unaware of the coup [Read More...]
Back in 2010, Germany striker Mario Gomez urged [Read More...]
Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
When people die, they are taken to the [Read More...]
Perhaps no other 20th century artist has captured [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]

Read More

Logan Lucky

Steven Soderbergh
2017

Victor Fraga - 23-08-2017

Steven Soderbergh's latest film Logan Lucky is a perfectly-executed and pleasant comedy about clumsy and kind-hearted criminals carrying out a heist, but it lacks a certain je-ne-sais-quoi - now on DVD, BD and VoD [Read More...]

Berlin Syndrome

Cate Shortland
2017

Victor Fraga - 06-06-2017

Forget Stockholm Syndrome! This German-flavoured kidnap is far more twisted than anything you've seen before - one of the dirtiest films of the year is out in cinemas Friday [Read More...]

Tangerine

Sean Barker
2015

Petra von Kant - 21-12-2016

The loudest, messiest, filthiest and yet most touching and impressive Christmas present you could ever give to anyone - 2015 film shot on iPhone excels in humour, simplicity, compassion and humanity [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *