FILM REVIEW: 2020 Spooky Movie International Film Festival SELECTION - Josh's review of MINOR PR
Directed by: Eric Schultz
Starring: Sathya Sridharan, Paton Ashbrook, Dana Ashbrook
Overview: The definition of a minor premise, according to The American Dictionary, is the premise of a logical argument containing the subject of its conclusion; in other words, the core of the argument itself. However, in this case, the movie MINOR PREMISE looks at the core of human emotion.
The film follows Ethan (Sathya Sridharan), a brilliant but withdrawn neuroscientist who is trying to unlock the core of human emotion by mapping how emotions affect parts of the brain. Why you may ask is he doing this? Well, Ethan is seeking to find possible cures for mental illnesses like addiction as well as impaired cognition. Though the film finds Ethan in the midst of a roadblock in his work, fate soon steps in and puts him in possession of his father's old journal - a tool which eventually allows him to develop a means to separate parts of his personality. Unfortunately, in doing do, Ethan unleashes a darker side of himself that he didn't anticipate.
As you can surmise from the brief synopsis, MINOR PREMISE is an interesting modern take on Stevenson's classic, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Both work on the idea of a scientist trying to improve himself and by extension, humanity as a whole. But the question becomes at what cost?
While the story itself is sound and Sridharan gives a very compelling performance, the film suffers from some major flaws. The first is its over-reliance on time jumping to demonstrate Ethan's blackouts and disjointed memories. Because of the sporadic manner in which it's executed in the film, it sometimes becomes confusing and hard to follow in places. Secondly, the sound remixing was disorienting and made it hard to hear and follow the dialogue in the film.
In some ways, it felt like Schultz was trying to create something akin to Nolan's Memento, but when executed here it just comes off as awkward. Sridharan, on the other hand, gives a great performance as Ethan in his first leading roll in a theatrical release. In fact, I would argue that it might have been better to have let Sridharan act and carry the film's narrative rather than relying on quick cuts and flashbacks.
All in all, this is not a terrible movie. There is a lot to be said for it and I think Sridharan could be an actor to watch in the years to come.
Overall grade: B-
MINOR PREMISE is currently available at the Spooky Movie International Film Festival.