Unsane ★★★½

On one hand, I appreciate this as another of Soderbergh’s exercises in aesthetic and textual self-flagellation. Like some Von Trier or Assayas works, it sees the director engaging in “low” genre material and technical constraints as a means of overcoming what must be assumed to be some sort of creative roadblock. The resulting film works well enough on its own terms, in spite of a rather poor script, and it’s a testament to Soderbergh’s indelible auteur status that his editorial wit and compositional sensibilities come through in spite of the material. The film is frequently ugly, yet its mood of surveillance prevails, even when the director can’t resist testing how his trademark blue-and-orange color palette translates to an iPhone screen. Nonetheless, despite Unsane’s watchable competency and its diverting quirks, one can’t help but remember that its director has plumbed this particular, trashy milieu to better effect in Side Effects and had once single-handedly elevated the genre with Sex, Lies and Videotape. By comparison, Unsane is a decided disappointment, even as it offers far more than the average contemporary wide release.