• by Wes Singleton

Unsane, B


Rated R, 98 minutes

The smart, crafty new low-budget psychological thriller from Oscar-winner Steven Soderbergh ("Traffic," "Oceans 11") takes stalking to a whole new level. It also takes filmmaking to a new level, as it was entirely shot on an iPhone 7. There are a handful of flaws, namely a faulty last act, but it's still terrific fun.

Sawyer Valentini ("The Crown's" Emmy winner Claire Foy), a bright but troubled business woman, begins to find out that her past is catching up to her when a former hospice patient's son (Joshua Leonard) starts to stalk her. To ensure her safety, Sawyer signs up for a support group that helps people tackle stalking problems. Unfortunately, Sawyer finds out that she has involuntarily placed herself in a mental institution with strict rules that there should be no contact with the outside world. Alone and trapped against her will, Sawyer must fight her own demons within the twisted asylum as the visions of her stalker begin to take over.

Highly implausible and thoroughly enjoyable, "Unsane" is also highly watchable and far from dull. Directed, edited and shot by Soderbergh on a iPhone 7 (he uses pseudonyms for cinematography and editing), it's co-written by James Greer and Jonathan Bernstein; Soderbergh's choice to shoot on an iPhone may be great marketing for Apple, but it's also a big risk that generally pays off here. It gives the film a more personal feel, yet it also adds a nice layer of creepiness missing in many thrillers in this genre.

It also helps that "Unsane" has a solid cast (watch closely for the Damon cameo), with a solid, believable turn from Foy as the young woman with some mental issues, but has a big, big stalker problem that may or may not be real. Leonard ("Bates Motel") is a pretty slimy stalker, while "Saturday Night Live's" Jay Pharoah has some good moments as someone who has his own reasons for being in the ward, as does Juno Temple ("Black Mass") as a wildly unpredictable patient and Amy Irving as Sawyer's understanding mother.

The last act has too many twists and turns in a movie that's already highly implausible enough, but "Unsane" is still entertaining and one of the most original psychological thrillers seen in some time. Definitely worth a look.

#unsane #stevensoderbergh #clairefoy #joshualeonard #junotemple #amyirving #jaypharoah #thomasnewman #jamesgreer #jonathanbernstein #aimeemullins

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