“Unsane” could’ve been so trite in the hands of a lesser director. Hell, Soderbergh tries to test your patience by shooting the entire movie on three iPhone 7 Plus units. That being said, Soderbergh couldn’t have picked a bitter time to drop a suspense movie about gaslighting women. The plot involves our lead heroine trying to ditch her stalker ex-boyfriend. She signs up for a therapy group to help victims of stalking, but she ends up signing herself over to commitment in an insane asylum.
Jay Pharoah has a strong supporting turn as a fellow inmate who sneaks in a phone. Claire Foy grabs the phone and tries to alert her mother to the unlawful detention. But, then we realize how insane everything is now. Juno Temple is great as the inmate that antagonizes Claire Foy, but we’ve seen that kind of role on shows like Orange is the New Black. Still, there’s an important underlying reality to what these people are saying. Jay Pharoah makes a compelling case that the asylum is running an insurance scam to force people to stay there much longer than 24 hours.
Sanity vs. truth is a fascinating concept. We all believe that what we perceive is real and informs the world around us. However, the flexibility of truth and perception can always take us deeper into some dark rabbit holes. Belief isn’t freely given, but earned. But, how does one believe a person if their own structure for belief can be called into question at a given time? I feel that Soderbergh undercuts this a bit by showing us that the stalker ex-boyfriend is actually in the hospital posing as one of the staff.
Yet, Soderbergh also tries to have his cake and eat it too. We watch Claire Foy break down and her past starts to suggest that while not originally insane, past trauma could’ve shoved her over the edge. No one gets away clean in a world where perception is about as shapeless as water. Also, did anyone else see the Matt Damon cameo as the cop?
- 1 hr and 37 mins
- Bleecker Street