A Mind Beside Itself (2010) – By Duane L. Martin

It’s been a while since I reviewed P.J. Starks’ last film, Hallows Eve: Slaughter on Second Street, but he has been keeping me updated on the stats of his latest film, A Mind Beside Itself for quite some time now, and at last, it’s finally done. So, here’s what it’s all about…

Tristan (Eric Sax) has finally met the girl of his dreams, Maya (Lori Sikes-Rosas), but is constantly plagued by visions of another woman, some of which include a young child. What does it all mean, what effects does it have on his relationship with his new love, and what does him not taking his medication have to do with it? I don’t want to say much more, because I simply can’t without giving away the ending.

This film is a very different beast from his first film in a variety of ways. As with the first film, this one was co-written by Rodney Newton, but this one doesn’t even feel like it’s in the same leage with the previous film. The production quality is miles better, the visuals are great, the sound is excellent and it’s edited in a rather disjointed way, but in a way that works to keep you guessing about what’s really happening right up to the end of the film.

If I had to nail down one problem with this film, it’s that all the jumping around and the disjointed feeling it gives the viewer can become rather confusing. You start to think to yourself, "What the hell is all this? What’s going on?" Fortunately, the end of the film answers those questions, and you suddenly realize that once you know the ending, everything else did make perfect sense. It’s just getting to the end to clear it all up that might be a tough ride for some people. It’s a ride worth taking though, as the way they pulled it off and tied it all together so it made sense really worked quite well.

The film is a short, and I racked my brain trying to think if making it longer and less disjointed would have added to it all or not. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that being longer probably would have hurt the film more than helped it. The real hook of the film is that the end makes it all make sense, so if you had to sit through a longer lead-in before getting to that conclusion, it probably would have felt like it was dragging. In the end, I think this is probably just the right length for what they were trying to achieve.

This film is a huge technical leap forward in production quality for P.J. Starks, and he and Rodney Newton working together do make quite a great team. This film is a trip, so definitely check it out if you have the chance. I’m really looking forward to what P.J. and Rodney come out with in the future.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out the film’s website at http://www.ambimovie.com.