It’s no secret that human beings want what they do not have; someone else possesses a far younger/more attractive spouse, you must obtain the same thing; someone makes you feel greatly heartfelt unlike how anyone else has, you develop an unhealthy obsession. This common mindset has historically lead mankind’s desires to turn into psychological exploitation of one another, creating deep, penetrated scars that Unsane captures through graceless closeups full of uneasy heartsickness.
One early shot views our protagonist, Sawyer, through leaves to put you in the stalker’s shoes, who followed her from Boston, causing her over the course of the film to essentially lose her mind as she turns into her critical fear. The minute the perspective moves past the bush and in front of Sawyer, wide spaces bear down with dynamic wide angles to emphasize her ultimate desires, which are all motivated by fear.
Sawyer exists alone within strange old Pennsylvania, her empty white wall apartment visualizing vulnerability, setting her in an uncomfortable predicament that similar ladies can comprehend easy. Sawyer‘s new office job only further triggers her being vulnerable to power beneath an inattentive corporate boss. While unfairly depicted, the high authorities‘ apparent unsympathetic practices still helps you naturally cheer on Sawyer’s actions. Once hospitalized due to her mention of past suicidal thoughts, images overlap when Sawyer’s medications cause hallucination. Even worse: Our eyes spot one patient offering Sawyer a welcome home present on her first night… a fresh tampon.
As these uncomfortable shots escalate, her insanity surpasses her stalker’s… he could very well have a better comprehension of love than she. Under an appropriate atmosphere, the script’s cultural relevance should educate the public about stalking effects, particularly in what social media has done to our ease of letting strangers know ourselves.
The entire crew deliver to satisfaction how people deliberately disown another’s needs, starting at the down-to-earth perspective of Nate, a hospital mate whom Sawyer befriends, as he hears when Sawyer‘s stalker began his pursuance, as told through flashbacks that never overstay their welcome. Actor Jay Pharoah absolutely triumphs as Nate, for his charitable voice alone proves perfect sanity.
Then with the cast and crew coordinated with fluidity, shifts between fast and slow beats turn you mentally sick, the camera composition set to convey disconnect between two speakers. The thrills succeed off the little details to suggest a fear that everyone’s gone mental. Regarding Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh’s (Erin Brockovich, Traffic) direction, each character’s sincere hopes right away becomes clear. However, the ensemble’s complementary arcs could’ve better completed Sawyer’s story arc, except little is learned about any of them, including Sawyer’s mother, who appears quite a bit throughout. Consequently, any attempts to deliver an emotional core through parental support turn out unsuccessful.
This love it or hate it type of movie exists chiefly for the sensory experience; although its evocative melody of unfamiliar instruments sounds appropriately written on impulse, Thomas Newman’s (American Beauty, WALL-E) musical score inadequately complements the slower moments to compensate for Sawyer and Nate’s lack of closure together. Therefore, Steven Soderbergh’s latest work isn’t a “masterpiece,” because of the missed chances: the weather conditions could have added some miraculous tension concerning the set up behind blaring walls, but the creativity did not stretch far enough. Likewise, no psychiatric patients appear multidimensional by something like religious backgrounds. Concerning spiritual undertones, Sawyer’s mother seems Christian based on the cross necklace she handles during desperate times, but it wasn’t central enough to make her memorable beyond just a plot device.
Hence most will overlook Unsane, ultimately left to be remembered for the iPhone 7 Plus cinematography. Yes, it all got filmed on said mobile device, the harsh grainy picture creating a harsh, unfamiliar spectacle without any fantasy colors—nothing looks touched up or filtered at all. Everything’s real. Imitating the mentality of younger folks nowadays stuck on mobile devices, every frame looks straight off anyone’s Facebook feed, including a few images that flaunt a deep blue Instagram-ish filter, until you realize that it’s all just a glance of the night from how Sawyer’s stalker perceives it.
Thus, a concrete definition of lost sanity can be concluded: Aiming toward whatever you lack until you no longer recognize your own reflection.
Though apprehensive to watch, Unsane successfully delivers the emotions of the exploited minority, warning you of the dangerous road you’re headed down.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Jones, Emma. “The entire camera department for Soderbergh’s latest film, Unsane, fitted into a backpack (Credit: Bleeker Street).” Digital image. BBC. 23 Feb 2018. Web. <http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20180223-claire-foy-and-matt-damon-in-a-film-shot-on-a-smartphone>.
Unsane. Bleecker Street. Web. <https://bleeckerstreetmedia.com/unsane>.
“Unsane.” IMDb. Amazon. Web. <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7153766/>.