There are so many films out there. Even as a avid cinema watcher, it all seems a bit exhausting. And we’ve traipsed through our fair share of movies. From the acclaimed yet safe Oscar noted ones to the quirky low budget independents, there are so many out there and that can get, well, kinda stale. We’re at a precipice of reinvention: Cinema has to grow and become more creative to truly make its mark. Filmmakers know this and now everyone is clamouring for something special to pull them over the mark. Steven Soderbergh, acclaimed director of Magic Mike, Sex, Lies, and Videotapes, and Side Effects takes his craft to another level – by sluicing down production and filming solely on an iPhone.
Can the film revolves around Claire Foy’s character Sawyer Valentini who is driven to exasperation, anxiety, and depression due to a stalker. When she checks herself into a mental institute, however, she finds herself imprisoned against her will. The more desperate she becomes to escape, the more the boundaries of reality are pushed and it all comes to a boil when she suspects her stalker is closer than he has ever been.
Though not the first to attempt to be filmed on an iPhone, and it certainly wont be the last, Unsane‘s greatest accomplishment is in the fact that even thought it was shot on an iPhone, and made for a modest $1.2 million, it looks as though it was done on a grander scale. The haunting brown hues of the imposing institute lend an eerie sheen to an already tense film and the bewildering shots that imitate Sawyer’s wavering mind are brilliantly showcased on that little iPhone. It’s clear that a lot of thought process was implemented here – with lighting, angles, and more helping aid the look and feel of the movie itself.
Steven Soderbergh’s latest venture is one that treads the line between genuinely entertaining to bland horror. Yet when it pulls itself away from familiarity, it’s a fun ride, all The entrapping of Sawyer ticks away like so many women plunged into a distressing peril. Yet, when it pulls itself away from familiarity, it’s a fun ride. That being said, the actress in that peril is Claire Foy who proves, without a doubt, that she is heading straight for that Academy Award. She is a ferocious performer here and captivates you into the plight of Sawyer, a far cry from the Queen she is most famously known for portraying.
Unsane has a maddening loose understanding of mental illness that perforates most exploitative horror films. For some, it’ll be enough to enrage you (expect countless articles on the subject too,) but for those who are happy with the extremity, it’ll all get swept up in the enjoyable mayhem. Already, Soderbergh’s latest is polarising and, honestly, it’s been about two hours and I still don’t know how if I liked the film personally. It’s a whirlwind of a film that, at it’s very best. showcases Soderbergh’s great skill at developing this from such a modest piece of film making equipment.
Coupled with Sean Baker’s Tangerine, this will certainly spur inspiration into a new generation of filmmakers who, without much, could be next Soderbergh.
Unsane is out March 23rd!