Unsane (3 stars)


Steven Soderbergh's entertaining, iPhone-shot thriller features a superb, spiky Claire Foy

Steven Soderbergh gleefully strides into Sam Fuller territory with Unsane, a pacy, feverish thriller in which the cutting-edge technology is never in danger of concealing its schlocky roots. Any notion of retirement seems to have been happily cast aside as Soderbergh embraces the creative freedoms and restrictions of shooting an entire feature on an iPhone7 Plus. The process results in a high-strung energy and grimy, claustrophobic look that perfectly match the fraught mind of its central character.

Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) is a financial analyst attempting to rebuild her life after a haunting ordeal at the mercy of an obsessive stalker. She attends therapy sessions at the Highland Creek Behavioural Facility and is duped into being committed for a short period. Soon she is trapped in a hell on earth, convinced that her former tormentor is now a nurse on her ward. Is she losing her mind? Given her history, who would be inclined to believe her if she really was the victim of a terrifying conspiracy? Doesn't everyone around her claim that their incarceration is also a terrible mistake?

Unsane often feels like a 21st century makeover of the Oscar-winning Ingrid Bergman vehicle Gaslight and serves up familiar twists and revelations with gusto. There are enough jolts to keep it interesting, before it becomes way too silly to still take seriously. The real revelation is Claire Foy, sinking her teeth into a troubled, spiky character and relishing the chance to show a range that extends beyond the cosy gentility of The Crown and Breathe. She is ably supported by Juno Temple and Jay Pharoah as fellow inmates of very differing temperaments.

Well-made and entertaining, Unsane is the kind of unpretentious fare that almost gives lurid, grand guignol B-movies a good name.

General release from Fri 23 Mar.


  • 3 stars
  • 2018
  • US
  • 1h 37min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
  • Cast: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah
  • UK release: 23 March 2018

Sawyer (Foy) is a financial analyst who was haunted by a stalker. She is duped into being committed into a mental hospital and becomes convinced that her former tormentor is a nurse. High-strung, grimy, claustrophobic B-pic from Soderbergh, shot on an iPhone 7 Plus, with a revelatory performance from Foy as the troubled…