It’s hard nowadays to contact people. We can hardly predict their mood or their next step. Whether it is on the road, in the bus, or somewhere in the park, there’s always someone unhinged and ready to get into conflict. In those cases, the simple but magical word, ‘sorry’, can solve the problem. But does it always work is a question that’s demands every citizen on earth to give an answer to it.
Rachel (Caren Pistorius) and Tom (Russell Crowe) are both divorced. They have their own reasons to be mad. One could not get what he wanted while the other one is yet to fight for it. When both cross each other’s path, it triggers an unprecedented chain of events where, an already out of control and totally messed up Tom won’t back up, and Rachel, will refuse to bow down. Both are stubborn enough to go head to head resulting in the loss of innocent lives.
It all starts with Tom who angrily enters a house, first to kill a man, and then the woman a minute after. After burning the house down, we learn through the news that it was his former wife whose life he has claimed. Already on the loose and with nothing to lose, he hits the road where he is about to meet his next victim. Rachel, on the other hand, has just overslept and is late taking her son to school and meet her client afterwards.
We learn that she is habitually late for which she is getting fired right in the beginning of the film. If that was not enough problem to begin a day with, she encounters Tom on the road during rush hour traffic. Their brief road rage exchange gets extended when Tom follows Rachel and her son asking for an apology.
She refuses to do so, rightfully though, feeling she has done nothing wrong. The man however, does the opposite, hoping she would say something that would stop him from losing his already dark mind. But because she fails to read the situation, she boosts his anger which he lets all of it out, aimed not only at her but her loved ones too, caring about nothing but making her day worse and worse.
The beauty of the film is not about who is wrong and who is right. Writer Carl Ellsworth pens an excellent story that literally puts the audience in the middle of two people asking to judge for themselves. As it describes road rage and its consequences, what the film perfectly states is the failure of one party to compromise. Due to their own principles and careless attitude the outcome can sometimes be deadly.
As for Rachel, she does everything she can to stop the death of her loved ones. She calls 911 and informs the police. The entire city is aware of her nightmarish situation of being stalked by the extremely dangerous man. However, Tom is too good at what he’s doing and continues with his plan even though the police is out there to stop him. And when he realizes that Rachel recently got divorced, he gets angrier.
That said, Derrick Borte does an outstanding job bringing to light the darkest reality of the twenty first century. And that’s not because of someone like Tom Cooper who is willing to go far and beyond to kill someone but because we people fail to grasp the situation. It feels too much for us to say sorry or recognize its true power. Yes, Rachel is the protagonist of this story while Russel Crowe’s Tom is the villain. But if we think deeper and pay attention to the closing scene, we will understand that there’s an unhinged in every single one of us. We’re just yet to learn about it.
An audio version of the review can be listen to here: https://anchor.fm/ulkar-alakbarova/episodes/ep-eibg7j/Review-of-Unhinged-written-and-read-by-Ulkar-Alakbarova-a2vuomn