“Unsane” is an unnerving and stressful thriller

What’s real? What a delusion? It’s hard to tell the difference in Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, Unsane.

Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) has recently relocated from Boston to Pennsylvania to escape her stalker. After consulting a therapist in the wake of a date gone wrong, Sawyer ends up committed to a mental institution, where she believes one of the staff members is her stalker. Sawyer begins to question her sanity and safety as she discovers the truth behind her stay.

Although the whole “trapped in an insane asylum” scenario is a tale as old as time at this point, Unsane still manages to keep viewers engaged with many suspenseful twists. It is not a perfect psychological thriller, however, as there are some illogical plot holes and brutal violence that detracts from the film’s real horror.

Still, the film engulfs you in a claustrophobic and chaotic world, which is a credit to Unsane‘s experimental filming style. Soderbergh chose to shoot Unsane with an iPhone over the course of 10 days.

Filming on a mobile device is neither revolutionary nor groundbreaking, but the choice certainly enhanced the unsettling nature of the film and emphasizes the very concept of stalking. We can feel Sawyer’s mental anguish, and the suffocation of paranoia as the camera follows and hovers around her.

That being said, the filming style allows Claire Foy to truly shine. She is gutsy, ferocious and captivating throughout every breakdown and emotional meltdown.  Foy portrays a fearless protagonist who is determined to have her story be believed – a fitting concept given the Me Too movement.

Another breakout performance – and well-needed breath of fresh air  – is Jay Pharoah, who plays another patient admitted to the hospital. Pharoah proves he is far more than Obama impersonations.

If you are looking for a dark and wild ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat, Unsane will be the movie for you

Final Thoughts: Although a somewhat flawed narrative, Unsane achieves as an unsettling, fast-paced, and well-acted thriller.


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