“Strange how paranoia can link up with reality now and then.”
[Philip K. Dick]
A psychological thriller about a self-admittment of Claire Foy in a clinic where her supposed stalker has utilized an insurance scam to keep her compliant. A pugnacious human being who foists herself into a week-long stint through a failure to read, a failure to articulate the situation, or simply walk out of the front door when her mother comes to visit. Instead, Foy concocts a plan with an absurd requirement for violence, trite thriller tropes that mirror back to more able works, poor writing intended to invoke as humor, and stalker with a penchant for expedited clotting and a proficiency in playing hide-and-seek. In the end, the film jettisons the only interesting elements of insurance fraud and euthanizes itself by taking The Departed option and just killing everyone. Michael O’Sullivan (Washington Post) does not pull any punches: “a lazy, B-movie horror flick inexplicably full of A-listers.”
Like so many things Steven Soderbergh, he takes a single interesting premise, converts it into a tantalizing promotional campaign, and then delivers a disappointment that lacks the completeness and originality that was originally promised. I’ve been managing my expectations for a long time because this patter has become all too familiar (e.g. Logan Lucky, Haywire, Contagion – that said, Side Effects & Behind the Candelabra was good). The gimmick in this film is that it was entirely shot on an iPhone 7 Plus; which is perfect, since we need more citizen moviemakers turning their Apple products into an opportunity for self-promotion at the expense of able content and truth.
What does not disappoint is Claire Foy — playing an unyielding “young American woman with a dirty modern mouth and a mind unschooled in regal stoicism” — her post-traumatic stress disorder leaves only bodies in her wake regardless if she finds them on Tinder or through other self-destructive devices. After The Crown, Foy is poised to have a big 2018 with her parts in Damien Chazelle’s First Man and The Girl in the Spider’s Web. What remains to be seen is whether she follows in the path of Rooney Mara or Saoirse Ronan in choosing to play those roles that highlight her acting or those roles that highlight her celebrity. I hope it’s the former.
Anthony Lane (New Yorker) gets this one right:
a serious movie about mental disorder and the insurance business would be ten times clammier and more disturbing than “Unsane.”
In the proverbial words of George Costanza, Soderbergh does it again: “not showing off, not falling behind.”