“Unsane” stars Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple, Aimee Mullins, and Amy Irving. Released on March 23, 2018, the film is about a young woman who finds herself trapped in a mental institution while being stalked by her former hospice patient’s son.
The film is directed by Steven Soderbergh, who also directed films such as Ocean’s Eleven, Che, Side Effects, and Logan Lucky. There are some people in this world who are completely insane and there are those who think they are completely insane. In life, there’s always a fine line between insane and sane. It all depends on the actions that people committed on themselves and those around them. For Soderbergh’s second feature since his return from a four-year hiatus, this concept is being transitioned into a psychological thriller that’ll test audience’s minds as well as showcase a disturbing viewpoint of being a victim of stalking. To make things even more intriguing, Soderbergh shot the entire film in secret on the iPhone 7 Plus. I am not kidding, he actually used a small device that is capable of taking pictures, sharing stuff on social media, and making important calls to make a Hollywood-style motion picture. It’s quite an accomplishment from a technical aspect, but I think the film itself stole most of its thunder.
Claire Foy’s portrayal as Sawyer Valentini was not only compelling and smartly-written, but also disturbing and convincing in her own way. Her character, along with those around her, displays certain actions that force me to question whether or not she’s really seeing things, and Foy’s performance makes that situation more and more believable as the film went on. Joshua Leonard was also terrific as the son of a hospice patient who will do anything to get close to Sawyer. What makes this film such an enticing treat for me is that there’s more to fear than just monsters, demons, and ghosts. It’s the fear of being stalked and the fear of questioning one's own sanity. Steven Soderbergh is a genuine marvel for displaying these types of fears while also maintaining a balance between disturbing and tension. Both the cinematography and the editing are exactly what you’ve been expecting from a Soderbergh film. Well-shot and smooth. The lighting and the texture were some of the degrading factors of filming with an iPhone, but aside from that, it’s the type of thriller that offers some pretty impressive shots. The only flaw I had with the film is that the second half can get into some familiar territory. That alone was a little disappointing given the fact that the first half showed some promise, but it never lost the sense of tension and fear that Soderbergh was aiming for, so I wouldn’t consider it to be a huge loss.
Overall, “Unsane” is a Hollywood-ized home movie done right. It’s an unnerving, yet well-portrayed, tale of a line between insane and sane filled with great acting and great tension. I might even say that I liked it a bit more than Soderbergh’s last film, Logan Lucky. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that Logan Lucky was good. It’s the fact that I was fully immersed with “Unsane” compared to my interesting, yet slow, experience with Logan Lucky. If you like some of Soderbergh’s other works or some of the films that’s both disturbing and terrifying, it's worth checking out.