Rated: R for disturbing behavior, violence, language, and sex references. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: March 23, 2018 Released by: Bleecker Street Media
Steven Soderbergh's latest outing puts B-movie sensibilities into the keen director's experimental predilections. In the case of the querying named Unsane the result is too ominously skewered in abusive fashion regarding the insurance business, emotional disintegration, not to mention stalking.
But he has a capable lead that falls under the frantic, psychological ill-advised albatross in Claire Foy (The Lady in the Van, Netflix's The Crown) who proves aggressively dedicated as freaked-out Sawyer Valentini. She has relocated to a new city with a new name to avoid a stealthy pursuer.
A cameo for a well-known star is a law-enforcement character informing Sawyer about what precautions to take, including ceasing her social media status. Sawyer's personal life has led to a baneful existence and an admission to a psychotherapist doesn't mean she's getting more meetings after signing off on a form. Large men with white coats escort her to a locked room in a guarded facility (a sanatorium). There she senses that the attending nurse is her prowler.
You might think Sawyer's tight-fix (accentuated by Soderbergh's Peter Andrews shooting often in low lighting on an iPhone and his Mary Andrews designing) would make for an effectively taut quandary around startling indignity. At least there is execution of sending up during the gratuitousness around health issues of the scheming within facets of an establishment which can be more than temporarily restraining.
Unsane unwinds absorbingly enough for a while on the shoulders of a fully invested Foy. Yet, a prerogative to go down and out the corridor of plausibility abates any nightmarish edge as the twisted overall look matches the self-serving output.
Polly McKie has a browbeating presence as Nurse Boles in the Nurse Ratchet ilk but could have stood out more if it weren't for another colleague (Joshua Leonard). The broad, debilitating nature of the enterprise is underscored by a character like Juno Temple's hostile, tampon-throwing patient. And, Amy Irving, in the role of Sawyer's mother as a horrid pantomime essentially occurs, is part of the casual solution to the gapes that neglects her thespian prowess.
Scribes Jonathan Bernstein and James Greer (known for their comedy background) can't manage much rationality which goes against a brash depiction of a woman well beyond the verge of a nervous breakdown. Too bad Soderbergh couldn't muster the psychiatric grit and wiry nuance displayed before his short-lived retirement in Side Effects where someone of Foy's caliber would never have been trapped in a hellish abyss.