Review: Foy goes crazy in experimental ‘Unsane’
Claire Foy of ‘The Crown’ stars in Steven Soderbergh’s smart thriller
The latest chapter in a long, winding and always interesting career, Steven Soderbergh’s “Unsane” is an unnerving psychological thriller with classic B-movie DNA.
“The Crown’s” Claire Foy plays Sawyer Valentini, a banker who has just started a new job in a new town. On a Tinder date, we get the first inkling something dark may be haunting her. Soon she’s off seeking help from a support group for stalkers, and when she admits to occasional suicidal feelings, she winds up locked inside a mental health care facility against her will.
Inside, she’s forced to deal with a confrontational patient (Juno Temple sporting tight braids) and she befriends the personable Nate (Jay Pharoah), who has a contraband cell phone he allows her to use. But mostly she’s disturbed by the presence of a hospital orderly (Joshua Leonard), who resembles a figure from her past.
“Unsane” cleverly toys with the “is she or isn’t she crazy?” paradox that is central to these films, but it’s interested in more than simply stringing viewers along and pulling a third act gotcha on its audience.
Foy is excellent in a demanding role, and she brings viewers with her on a complex, emotionally knotty journey.
Soderbergh, ever the provocateur (and back with his second movie since his self-imposed, self-lifted retirement from filmmaking), shot “Unsane” on an iPhone 7 Plus, an added wrinkle in a story where technology is omnipresent. “Think of your cell phone as your enemy,” Nate tells Sawyer at one point. For Soderbergh, it’s now another tool in his vast filmmaking arsenal.
Rated R for disturbing
behavior, violence, language, and sex references
Running time: 98 minutes