Steven Soderbergh has done a number of firsts throughout the film industry. He was the first to release into theaters and on DVD at the same time with Bubble. He’s experimented on a large scale with shooting a feature with an outline and no script, as well, and now Unsane comes with a caveat.
Unsane was shot with an iPhone and an app on top of the usual full crew for sound, et al. It’s similar to Sean Baker’s Tangerine in that we want to focus on a full-length feature shot with about as minimal a setup as possible visually but one with a substantial audio budget.
It’s a simple setup. Sawyer (Claire Foy) is a victim of stalking trying to resettle her life when she winds up involuntarily committing herself for a weekend. With her stalker (Joshua Leonard) inside as well, Sawyer has to find a way to survive. Or is she crazy and making it all up?
The film explores this aspect, all shot from an iPhone. It makes the film more of a gimmick, like something an amateur could do with enough time, but it’s certainly more developed because of everyone attached. The film itself is pretty forgettable; it’s a generic psych thriller that doesn’t have much going for it but is competently made.
Without the gimmick of being shot on an iPhone it’d be in the same category for Soderbergh as Logan Lucky. It’ll wind up being better known for its gimmick, Lucky for its transparency in paying its cast and this film with it being shot with a mobile phone.
In theaters the film looked like it was shot on a phone, which throws the experience off from the usual cinematic look, but on DVD the film isn’t nearly as off putting as it was in theaters. On a TV screen the film doesn’t look nearly as off as it does on a large screen. On a smaller screen it doesn’t stand out as much but it still looks like it was shot on an iPhone.
Years from now we’ll be looking at this film as a marvel of technology because of how it was shot, not because it’s an amazing film.
An EPK piece is the only extra included.
Universal presents Unsane. Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Written by James Greer and Jonathan Bernstein. Starring Joshua Leonard, Claire Foy. Run Time: 98 minutes. Rated R. Released on: 6.19.18
Tags: Claire Foy, Steven Soderbergh, Unsane