Unsane

Unsane is a psychological thriller film starring Claire Foy as a person who is wrongfully committed to a mental health institution; whilst there she is terrorised by her stalker. Unsane is one of the most menacing films I’ve seen it a while: due in no small part to the real-life nature of the threat. This is because this isn’t a ghost or a ghoul or something mythical, but rather something very human. The initial shock of Foy’s character, (Sawyer Valentini) being by all intensive purposes tricked into voluntary commitment is quite substantial on it own: however, it is the introduction of the stalker into the mix that really raises the threat level. Joshua Leonard’s performance as David, (the stalker) is outstanding: particularly as his obsession with Foy’s Sawyer reals so genuine and real. Unsane is a foray into mental illness at it’s most disturbing, as it easily manages to get under your skin. The script has you at times both rooting for Sawyer and, at times rooting against her: as you are never quite sure whether what is happening is real or in her head. It is this sense of ambiguity that really makes you reflect on the idea of mental illness. This film is directed by Steven Soderbergh; with each shot giving you a further insight into Sawyer’s state of mind. Soderbergh shot this film on an iPhone, which I truly believe is quite a novel thing as it shows a whole new frontier for filmmaking: demonstrating how you don’t need an expensive camera to make a stunning piece of art. Filming Unsane on an iPhone gives it a raw feeling, which truly adds to the believability; making it strike a lot closer to home. The film itself has quite a Hitchcockian tone to it: which on more than one occasion caught my attention. The performances are all very well used with each actor squeezing every bit of life from the script that they can. Juno Temple’s performance as Violet; one of the other patients at the facility along with Sawyer is exquisite as she completely loses her self in the role. At points this film made me quite uncomfortable as it really got under my skin, this is truly the best praise I can give it. Unsane is not like a lot of modern horror/thriller film out there being reliant on quick scares and twists: being instead far more into building atmosphere and tension to a satisfying climax. This is a superb thriller and will really give you something to think about; definitely not for the faint of heart.
4.5/5
Reviewed by Luke

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