The Curator of Schlock #237 by Jefff Shuster

Unsane

I’m not Unsane!

Do you remember Dawson’s Creek? It was the brainchild of Kevin Williamson, the screenwriter of the Scream series of horror movies. It centers around the life of teenager Dawson Leery (James Vanderbeek), an aspiring filmmaker who hopes to be the next Steven Spielberg.

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At some point in the series, the young man becomes embarrassed by his obsession with director Steven Spielberg and declares that he is now a Steven Soderbergh fan.

I’m not sure where I was going with this.

Oh yeah.

Tonight’s movie is 2018’s Unsane from director Steven Soderbergh.

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It doesn’t star James Vanderbeek.

The movie centers around a woman named Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy). She works a cubical job for some sort of banking institution. One of the early scenes shows her yelling at a customer over the phone. At night, she meets a Tinder date and informs him that the night will go the way he wants it to as long as he doesn’t contact her ever again. They start getting physical back at her place, but Sawyer then freaks out and locks herself in her bathroom. We later learn that Sawyer had a stalker where she lived back East.

There’s a scene where Matt Damon comes tells her all the things she needs to do to avoid being stalked. She can’t be on Facebook even if she sets the privacy settings. She also has to install black bars over her windows. I’m not sure if Matt Damon is playing a character or if this is just a side job of his. Maybe in lieu of pay on the last Jason Bourne movie, he got the Jason Bourne action figure rights.

According to Wikipedia, Sawyer is a “troubled woman.” She decides to seek out therapy at a mental health facility named Highland Creek. Sawyer tells a counselor there that she’s thought about suicide in the past. She fills out some paperwork, hoping to see the counselor on a weekly basis, and is promptly committed to Highland Creek. She calls the police with her one phone call, but the police never show.

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She’s then shoved in a dormitory with the other guests of the facility, including a patient named Violet (Juno Temple) whose idea of a funny joke is throwing used tampons at Sawyer.

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It’s not long before Sawyer freaks out, starts banging on the windows to the alert the orderlies, strikes one of the orderlies in the face, and is promptly sedated. A fellow patient named Nate (Jay Pharoah) tells Sawyer that it’s all a scam, that Highland Creek commits people of sound mind just to get their insurance money. Mental health is a business like any other and Highland Creek needs customers. All Sawyer has to do is play it cool and she should be released in about a week. And then her stalker (Joshua Leonard) gets hired as one of the orderlies.

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Or is it all in her head? Maybe Sawyer is unsane after all.

You see. Spellcheck didn’t okay the word unsane. It’s not a real word. Does Soderbergh think he’s above the King’s English?


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Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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