If I didn’t know it was shot entirely on an iPhone, I would not have figured it out while watching Unsane, Soderbergh’s new twist on his road to revolutionising craft, if not necessarily art. But it makes sense, as the film has a stalkerish quality to it, a crispness and fake intimacy of a social media profile – an immediacy that makes it tenfold more horrifying than if it was digested through the geometrical complexity of a film camera lens.
Claire Foy is a woman on the run, it takes a full hour for the audience to grasp if she is escaping her own madness, or a monster in the flesh, and if these two merge somewhere at a vantage point of inverted reality.
In this information-saturated surveillance age, it’s a sure-fire target to ponder of how much a person can know about another through sheer data alone, as well as the audacity of claiming to understand a fellow human deeply by following their every move. Unsane does well in untangling this hairball of perversity, and showcasing it for what it really boils down to – a paralysing fear of true intimacy.
I found it disturbing to the bone for another reason, though – a looming premise of gold-standard corporate totalitarianism, as it overtly toys with the idea of private companies taking over society’s role in judging sanity, and then drives the point home in a Hummer truck packed with explosive trigger lines.
It’s clever, sleek, and of the moment. Not sure it will keep, but it might stick like a piece proverbial ectoplasm on the shoe of (likely) many new iPhone films to come.