This week’s film is Steven Soderbergh’s 2018 experimental psychological horror thriller ‘Unsane’ starring Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard and Jay Pharaoh. The film was shot entirely on an iPhone 7 plus.
Soderbergh also capitalizes on the lightweight maneuverability of the iPhone for some exhilarating seat-of-his-pants cinematography in the film’s most arresting scene. Things aren’t looking so good for our gal Sawyer near the end of the second act, as her tormentor has trapped her in a padded solitary confinement room with no escape. When Sawyer and the demon that just won’t go away finally dive into the explosive conflict their film has been building towards, Soderbergh goes handheld to get visceral 360-degree coverage in a tiny, claustrophobic space. Cutting as few times as possible to preserve the tension, he conveys the feeling of having nowhere to run, as if the viewer had been imprisoned as well.
In his new film, “Unsane,” Steven Soderbergh has come close to the cinematic equivalent of Flaubert’s dream of “a book about nothing.” The subject of the film—a hectically intense thriller about a young woman named Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) who has been the victim of a stalker—is simply a pretext for a technical exercise: Soderbergh shot the film entirely on an iPhone. But “Unsane” is also one of his best movies, because for Soderbergh, a filmmaker with an obsessive devotion to technique and process, there’s nothing impersonal or distanced about that exercise; it’s the very spark of his artistic passion, and that passion is the energizing force of “Unsane.”
Catharsis Rating: 3.5/5
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