• Name: Unsane
• Year: 2018
• Country: USA
• Director: Steven Soderbergh
• Main cast: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah
• Runtime: 98 minutes
• Production company: Extension 765, New Regency Pictures, Regency Enterprises
I assume at this point everybody knows Steven Soderbergh. Perhaps you are not familiar with his name, but surely you are familiar with his work, since he is the man behind the cameras on titles like Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), Out of Sight (1998), Erin Brockovich (2000), Traffic (2000), Solaris (2002), The Informant! (2009), Contagion (2011), Haywire (2011), the Ocean’s trilogy and the recent and underrated Logan Lucky (2017). A prolific filmmaker, mastering the genres of crime and thriller, he never stepped into the fields of horror. Until now.
Soderbergh chose Unsane (2018) to be his first horror movie and I think it was a good move. A pure exercise of psychological horror, where what matters is the actors’ performances and the tension provided by the images. And it works, mission accomplished. Claire Foy is Sawyer Valentini, a young woman wrongly locked in a mental institution where she’ll have to deal with nightmares from her past. Her performance is intense and credible and manages to make the audience to get in her skin. Steven Soderbergh totally relies on his actors to bring this movie to life, so the performances of supporting Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah and Juno Temple here are gold.
Unsane (2018) already became history for being the first movie ever shot entirely with an iPhone camera. This can raise some skeptic doubts, like I had myself, thinking I was going to face a movie more interested in experimentation than the story itself. And I couldn’t be more wrong. The limitations of the cell phone camera, far from the high-quality cameras usually used in movies, gives Unsane (2018) a different and personal feeling. Soderbergh takes advantage of the tiny device to achieve angles and shots that would rarely manage to get with regular equipment. And don’t expect low image quality or lots of grain, because technically, in the matter of visual quality, this movie has no deficiency. It is austere and dark, also thanks to the chosen set, a recently closed real hospital with lots of empty long corridors and undecorated rooms. One could think they saved a lot of money in equipment and crew with these decisions, with the austere set and the iPhone recording. And probably that is true. But that doesn’t decrease the quality of Unsane (2018), to the contrary, it imprints its own obscure personality.
It’s been announced that for his next project, Steven Soderbergh is back to the thriller drama, digging into the miseries and plots around the Panama Papers scandal. Well, probably that one could be a decent flick as well since it is proved he is a very resolutive thriller filmmaker. But if he ever wants to go back to psychological horror, thumbs up! Here we’ll be waiting. Because Unsane (2018) is a very enjoyable movie, impeccable in the technical and artistic fields, and that probably might become one of the most celebrated genre titles of the year. Very commendable.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7153766
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