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By midlandsmovies, Jul 19 2018 07:33AM

Unsane (2018) Dir. Steven Soderbergh

Infamously filmed on an iPhone 7 Plus in 4K using the FiLMiC Pro app, director Soderbergh shows again that he’s an exciting and experimental filmmaker jumping from project to project with both blockbusters (Ocean’s 11, Logan Lucky) sitting alongside indie fare like The Girlfriend Experience.

Here we get more of the latter rather than the former as Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) is a distressed and anxious woman who visits a counsellor but unwittingly commits herself to a mental institution. Once inside, she struggles chaotically to get herself out, whilst also claiming a man who once stalked her is now working there as a staff member. But is he just a figment of her imagination?

Well, Soderbergh uses the handheld anamorphic lens to visually stretch reality and her believability, as she is tormented either by her mind, the hospital and/or her stalker. A fellow patient Nate (Jay Pharoah) shares an insurance company conspiracy with her whilst Juno Temple’s Violet is a sassy inmate with gossip and brainwaves of her own.

The director keeps each scene off-kilter by throwing the audience into a world of confusion, sedition and (sometimes) sedation. The knotty narrative helps keep the intriguing premise up, questioning who or who may not be the nutty players in this secure unit, but at times it simply feels jumbled and disorganised.

The home-made ambience owing to the technology used would have been great if used sparingly but had me going mad by the film’s rather preposterous and baffling conclusion.

Certainly made with bold and creative passion, Unsane is a solid and quirky thriller looking at enduring psychological torment. But if nothing else, by using a format that is so often seen as a last resort for aspiring filmmakers, Soderbergh has demonstrated that high quality and interesting work can be more than achieved for a low budget.


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