Unsane is directed by Steven Soderbergh and is a 97-minute film that was entirely shot on an iPhone 7 Plus. Talk about innovation, we can all be filmmakers now!
Technical aspects aside, a young businesswoman named Sawyer, played by Claire Foy, as she is admitted to a mental institution against her will. Upon entering the institution, Sawyer’s past catches up with her while inside the closed facility and begins to mentally torment her throughout.
If this film proves anything, it is that Steven Soderbergh can film with just about anything he can hold in his hands. He probably could put a lens on a shoe and shoot a scene with it. That said, Soderbergh’s decision to helm this film in this unorthodox method does go hand-in-hand with this unhinged narrative.
This film will be an acquired taste for some because of the way it is shot and constructed. Admittedly, this is not a good looking movie by any stretch, it’s shot on an iPhone after all. The 16:9 aspect ratio is clearly apparent and the images on screen come off very flat with little-to-no depth.
But to the film’s credit, the story is still able to balance and build a sense of uncertain suspense thanks in part to the iPhone’s “personal” look. In some ways because of the way the camera records, the film almost feels like a documentary.
As an audience, it’s as if we’re a fly on the wall peering in on personal situations or events. This technique in turn, makes these situations that our main lead finds herself in, all the more urgent and/or frightening.
Although I’ve never heard of her until this film, Claire Foy as the main lead is brilliant. Appearing as one of the most sane people in the institution, she is absolutely excellent in this performance. A lot of this film hinges on her character and the way she reacts to her predicament.
As the story begins to dive deeper into her past trauma, her character becomes much more engrossing, as we also begins to call into question her sanity. Despite the repetitive nature of seeing nobody believe the one sane person in closed confinement, Foy’s delivery still makes the film progressively more fun and engaging.
In execution there is nothing cinematic about Unsane, with a 1.5 million dollar budget backing it up, the evidence is obvious. However, Soderbergh’s direction and mastery of the camera, iPhone 7 Plus or not, is still clearly on display here. From a story perspective alone, this is still a good tension building thriller with a lingering vibe of uncertainty that accompanies Claire Foy’s enjoyable performance along the way.
I’m going to give Unsane a solid “B” as my final take. Maybe the best way I can describe this film would be this: Unsane is Get Out for white girls.
As always, thanks so much for reading and make sure to stay posted to Frank’s Takes for more reviews. Until next time, keep it 100.
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