No more Mr Nice Guy: when Hollywood heroes go deliciously dark
Russell Crowe’s new role shows how the mature A-lister can remain relevant thanks to a mid-career pivot
It’s 20 years since Russell Crowe won his Oscar as the grittily heroic Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator. The contrast with his latest role, as a psychopathic stalker in the road-rage thriller Unhinged, could hardly be more intense.
You’ve never seen Crowe act with such fuming malevolence, or look so atrocious. His character leads from the gut, which bulges out from his khakis as if about to blow at any second. There’s always been a volatile edge to Crowe, as many who have fallen foul of his notoriously quick-tempered press junkets will testify. But this is the first man he has played who goes after his ex-wife with a raised hammer, brains her new partner in passing, and sets their house on fire.
That’s just the opening scene...