Unsane was filmed entirely on an iPhone, and it doesn’t seem to have been vocalised particularly strongly in the build up to the film’s release, seemingly the correct decision to make. The gimmick would have far outweighed the film’s impact, and in reality it is not what Unsane is about. The effect it gives, a close and very personal approach, is key to the way the picture comes across, but it does not define the scenes that made it into the final edit.
Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) is terrorised by a long term stalker, and hoped moving to a new city would give her a sense of freedom she has yearned for. However, after a routine check up turns into a hospital admittance, Sawyer begins to question her own sanity. Delving deeper into her own mind, Sawyer finds a strange reappearance of the stalker who has haunted her for so long.
Director Steven Soderbergh has created an intrinsically unpolished film, looking to hit hard with the ambiguity that often comes with films focusing mental health. There appears to be a real emphasis on making Claire Foy seem as unpredictable as possible, whilst keeping her believable, and that plays well with the incredibly intense themes around stalking that Unsane uses.
The low camera quality and unfinished feel don’t take away from the production, only making it feel low budget, which has really worked in its favour. There’s a powerful message within Unsane and that isn’t blurred by what is shown on screen.
With a very strong Claire Foy showing a completely new side to her acting, and a story that continues to impress, Unsane is very much the sum of its parts, working in its own unique and thrilling way. Soderbergh has managed to take a gimmicky idea and turn it into a quality piece of drama, showing off the capabilities of modern film making as well as those of modern technology.