Unsane

Steven Soderbergh’s iPhone-shot horror film Unsane might turn off a lot of people. But if you can stand what Soderbergh is trying to do here, you’ll find a old school schlocky thriller with a killer performance from Claire Foy. Foy plays a troubled women trying to hide from a crazy stalker (Joshua Leonard). In the process, Foy accidentally gets herself committed to a mental asylum. Unfortunately, her stalker just happens to be working at the same asylum, but no one believes her pleas for help. What follows is a nightmarish, tightly-wound film with Soderbergh pulling out all the stops and jarring your nerves in the process. Foy is phenomenal here (even though her American accent keeps slipping), playing a woman at the end of her rope. It all culminates in a freeze-frame that had me wanting to stand up and applaud in the theater.

Special Features to Note:

Only one! “Unsanity”, which is a brief glimpse behind-the-scenes of the film. We See Soderbergh shooting scenes with his iPhone rig. This isn’t your traditional behind-the-scenes look with talking heads breaking down what the movie is about. Instead, it’s a montage of scenes from the movie, and behind-the-scenes shots of Soderbergh shooting said scenes. I would’ve preferred something a bit more in-depth, but it’s fascinating and a little surreal to see a film being made with iPhones. I’m so used to behind-the-scenes footage shot with big camera rigs that it’s a shock to see a crew surrounding a tiny iPhone screen to get their shots.

Special Features:

  • Unsanity

 

Chappaquiddick

Senator Ted Kennedy did a lot of good in his life. But no amount of progressive accomplishment can wash away the stain of the Chappaquiddick incident. On Friday, July 18, 1969, Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a small bridge into a tide pond. Kennedy somehow escaped the car, but his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, remained trapped inside. Rather than immediately get help, Kennedy staggered back to the hotel where he was staying, telling two close friends about the accident. They insisted Kennedy report the accident, but he failed to do so for 10 hours. In that time, Kopechne either drowned or suffocated to death in the car.

John Curran’s haunting Chappaquiddick dramatizes these events, and it certainly doesn’t paint Kennedy in a good light. Played brilliantly by Jason Clarke, Kennedy is presented as a man living in the shadow of his dead brothers, including President John F. Kennedy. He’s the only Kennedy son left, and yet he still feels like an outcast, a failure who will never live up to the greatness of his brothers. Following the accident, Kennedy isn’t a nervous wreck, as the real Kennedy claimed to be. Instead, he’s a cold, calculated and occasionally oblivious man. Kennedy constantly fails to understand how terrible his actions were, and what legal danger he might be in. As the film unfolds, Kennedy briefly considers doing the right thing again and again, only to change his mind. It makes for a chilling yet fascinating film, and it’s odd that this film was virtually ignored when it hit theaters earlier this year. Seek out Chappaquiddick.

Special Features to Note:

“A Reckoning” is a look into the making of the film, from the origin of the script to the shooting and everything in between. There’s a lot of talk here about how the movie is attempting to be both a blend of political thriller and historical drama. There’s also a lot of talk that seems to be an attempt to head-off any pro-Kennedy criticism of the film. As the filmmakers say again and again, the idea wasn’t to make a “hatchet job”, but rather to be “honest.” I’m sure that’s true, but it’s hard to be honest without painting Kennedy in a negative light – what he did was inexcusable. “Bridge to the Past” looks at the editing of the movie. Editor Keith Fraase tells us about how he was fascinated by the project because of how the script portrays Kennedy. Fraase goes on to say says that director Currran didn’t want the film to be an “attack piece”, and that a lot was done in the editing room to make a large portions of the film seem as what we’re being shown might not actually be happening, but might actually be in Kennedy’s mind. 

Special Features:

  • “A Reckoning: Revisiting Chappaquiddick” Featurette
  • “Bridge to the Past: Editing the Film” Featurette

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