Director Steven Soderbergh (Oceans trilogy) shot his latest feature film Unsane using only an iPhone, giving hope to young and aspiring filmmakers around the world.
A young woman named Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) gets transported to a mental institution against her will. When she arrives however, she comes face to face with a past stalker (Joshua Leonard).
I was intrigued to see Unsane solely because the film was shot entirely on an iPhone, as aforementioned. This was so amazing to see, as when I was a young child, I used to make short films on my iPhone devices all the time with friends. We used to get together on weekends and just decide to shoot any random thing and make it into a short film. Seeing Soderbergh do this with a feature film was really great to see, and brought me back to my childhood.
Foy does an excellent job here as Sawyer Valentini, our lead protagonist. Although she is definitely not the greatest person in the world, you do still feel sympathy for her. She gets transported against her will to a mental institution where she slowly cannot take it anymore, and after a while, you do genuinely want her to escape.
The story was one that interested me as well, as it really has not been done before – or at least in this way. The film sets up many questions, and does not necessarily give the audience all the answers until the last minute. Even when you think you have figured it out, you probably have not yet.
Unsane can be slow paced a lot of the time, however. There were several scenes where I questioned “Where are we going from here?” and sometimes, it became unclear as to what could be done next in the film.
It also can look a little bit ugly, which may have been intentional – but it still bothered me. The lighting is extremely off in some scenes. For example, several times we see Foy on screen, one half of her face is considerably brighter than the other, and after a while, it bugged me.
The ending also did not really work for me. Yes, it is a shocking ending that will leave most viewers puzzled and thrilled, but it can be a bit of a stretch at the end of the road, unfortunately.
With a great performance from Claire Foy, Unsane is an inspiring horror film with a good story, even if some technical aspects and pacing issues bog it down.
Overall Grade: B
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing behavior, violence, language, and sex references
Cast: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Distributed by: Bleecker Street, Fingerprint Releasing (United States), 20th Century Fox (International)
Running Time: 98 minutes