Sidewinder’s View: “The Mind’s Eye” (2015)

From 2015, this morning’s movie. Having really enjoyed its writer-director’s previous Sci-Fi/Horror “homage” (Almost Human), I had high hopes for this one. They weren’t really met, though.

David Cronenberg’s Scanners is one of my favorite movies. The Fury, by Brian De Palma, is pretty good, too. The Mind’s Eye played like a gorier, shallow imitation, with characters you aren’t made to care about, who behave so stupidly in dangerous situations, making the same mistakes over and over again, that, after a while, you find yourself talking out loud and telling the characters how idiotic they are.

Yes, it quickly turned into one of those movies. Unfortunately.

The special effects were good, the cinematography was decent, but the acting and the script were mediocre. And the characters TALKED TOO MUCH, too often at times when they didn’t really need to, a common weakness among modern filmmakers raised on too much television (though the end result more often resembles a radio drama).

I feel like watching Scanners again just to cleanse my mind of this one.

UPDATE, WITH MILD SPOILERS:

“Mind’s Eye is filled with confrontations in which armed goons repeatedly confront victims they know to have awesome psychokinetic abilities, only to postpone firing their weapons so that the victims have ample opportunity to summon their deadly powers. Then, having knocked the goons senseless, the psychokinetic opponents leave theirs guns in easy reach so that they can awaken to inflict more injuries. “ -A reviewer at Blu-ray.com

This is the part of the movie I had the biggest problem with.

To have the characters make this mistake once? Okay. But the characters ought to be clever enough to learn from their initial experience and not keep making the same stupid mistake. And why did the guy stop his girlfriend from killing the villain who’d been trying to kill the two of them?

In a movie like this, it’s hard to stay invested in a character’s plight, after it’s clearly turned into a fight to the death, when they don’t seem to take their own survival, or their loved one’s survival, seriously enough to kill for it. Or at least to disarm the villains of their weapons after they’ve knocked them unconscious.

As a viewer, it becomes increasingly difficult to root for characters who keep exhibiting such blatant stupidity in the face of mortal danger.

After a while, it felt like the filmmakers were just padding the story. Not with glacial pacing, but with repetition. I wanted to love this movie, same as I’d loved Almost Human, but there just wasn’t enough plot or character development in The Mind’s Eye to justify a feature-length running time. It needed more story. Instead we got an endless string of confrontations/showdowns.

I’m willing to give Begos and company an A for effort, but the finished product has to be judged apart from that. And it simply didn’t measure up to a satisfying experience for me.

Now, I can only speculate, since I haven’t had time yet to listen to the commentary tracks, but I would imagine, this being a low-budget flick, they were trying to make do with casting limitations (15 actors total in The Mind’s Eye cast, whereas Scanners had close to 50 cast members). When you don’t have access to a lot of time, money or talent, it’s not as if you can just kill off characters in your story and replace them with new ones, i.e. different actors. So…

…you just have the same small cadre of villains get knocked out or disarmed, several times over. Then, when your story’s safely into the third act, you can start bumping them off. Trouble with that is, I’m not sure you can get away with it, at least in a Thriller, without losing a good portion of your audience. Believe it or not, some viewers resent it when suspension of disbelief becomes such an uphill battle.

Having forked over ten bucks to own it on DVD, I wanted to enjoy this movie, not end up shouting at it while rolling my eyes in disbelief.

mindseye

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