If I didn’t know it was shot entirely on an iPhone, I would not have figured it out while watching Unsane (2018) 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.
Author: © Milana Vujkov