Film Review: And Uneasy Lies The Mind

It’s strange how films come into your life. Some mass marketed, plastering mainstream media refusing to be ignored, others asking politely for you time and some, not having to try at all, some able to keep their head down and hope you come, eventually, to them. And Uneasy Lies The Mind is a perfect example of this, a film I went looking for, a film that didn’t ask to be found. In fact, it is so removed from the mainstream conscious, I doubt many will have heard of it, few will know anything about it and a even less will have seen it.

And I was certainly in the first camp when I met a friend for a coffee and a discussion on blog posts lead to a rhetorical seed being planted in my head: surely someone must have made a film entirely on an iPhone by now? And so I went searching, finding the answer there. I didn’t know anything about it, but there is was, And Uneasy Lies The Mind, or to give it my working title: the iPhone movie.

Michelle Nunes - And Uneasy Lies The Mind

To give you some background, And Uneasy Lies The Mind, funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, describes itself as “the couples weekend retreat in the woods turned sour, a story which has been done a million times before, given a fresh aesthetic approach, original characters, razor sharp dialogue, and artful storytelling which puts it into an entirely different category“. So, reading between the lines, I was letting myself in for a simple reinvention of a safe story, shot on a mobile phone. Fair enough. The thought process in my brain going something like “Don’t expect much but it shouldn’t be too bad as long as it doesn’t tread too far from the predictable narrative path”.

Sadly though, it goes off-piste, off county and even off country. It is awful. Firstly, the fact that it’s shot entirely on an iPhone creates a huge depth of field issue. You get a very binary construction to every shot. Either the foreground or background are in focus. One, or other, but never both. And the result is a strange sensation that feels miniaturising. It’s not the full on reduction in depth scale you get from tit-shift photography, but everything feels out of proportion and therefore, you end up feeling removed from certain aspects or too close up to others. You never settle.

This is compounded further by a production style that swings wildly from close ups, to even closer close ups to wide panning shots, to strange landscape imagery. There are just too many different, competing styles in play that don’t fit together. In fact, they go as far as to break up any tension or emotion in the film. They just confuse. Honestly, everything about the visual production of this film just feels amateur and poorly executed.

And when you are already becoming confused by the way that the film presents itself, the last thing you then need a fight with the script. The story. But that’s exactly what happens, because there isn’t one. Well actually there is, but it makes no sense. Character’s change name, change partners, change clothes, change anything they want. Nothing makes sense and I physically couldn’t tell you why anything happens, or what is actually going on because it is purely just a bunch of mad, incompressible ramblings stitched together in an attempt to make a passable plot, written in a language that feels arrogant and perturbing to be above it’s station.

Jonas Fisch  Michelle Nunes - And Uneasy Lies The Mind

So there you are, watching a film that is visually difficult on the eye, trying to understand a bizarre, inebriated plot and then you realise that none of the characters actually seem to know how to act. Granted, when working with the script they have, I’m surprised they even turned up but it feels like the blind leading the blind in a dark room. You never connect to them, you never feel anything from them, you never for one instant believe any of them are real. They look like nothing more than actors playing a role. It’s almost as if you can see the eyes of the camera on them. The word relax never appearing once.

In theory, this movie never promised much, it’s a low budget, crowd funded film which was more about being the first “phone-film” rather than an attempt to destroy Hollywood with consumer tech. But it’s just so upsetting, because whatever limitations it suffers from technology, it’s greatest flaw is it’s script: it’s story, it’s heart, and  that is inexcusable. A bad workman may blame his tools, but there can be no excuse for poor writing and imagination.

2 out of 10 stars (2 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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