Simple Mind (2012) – By Josh Samford

The art of the short film can be astonishingly difficult to perfect. Although I have seen numerous filmmakers attempt to make something that can grab an audience and never let go of their attention, few artists are able to actually accomplish this difficult task in such a short amount of time. The problem that so many seem to have is that they try to force genre archetypes within the confines of such a limited time frame. It is hard to craft a thriller when the audience has minimal time to get to know their characters, so filmmakers have to be crafty when trying to achieve such goals. The creative folks behind the short film Simple Mind may not display the perfected short film thriller, but they do manage to craft something that is truly engaging to watch.

Detailing the story of one man and his battles with psychosis, we watch as he details another day in his life to an off screen therapist. His story starts off relatively sad, with him sitting on a park bench pining for a woman who doesn’t know he exists, but the story quickly detours into much darker territories. Despite this woman not even knowing his name, our narrator tells his therapist how much he loves this mysterious woman – and how much she loves him. As the story progresses, our narrator reveals himself to be more and more disturbed.

Clocking in at just seven minutes, Simple Mind is a very smart little short feature. Packed with some very accomplished acting and beautiful cinematography, the real guts of this short comes from the creative narrative within the film. A mix of thriller aesthetics and a slight hint of horror, writer and director Phil Newsom does a great job of avoiding many cliche elements within his story. The plot unfolds in a very creative way, by giving us a detailed look inside the mind of a man suffering from obvious delusions. We see the reality of his situation, but through his narration we hear the unrealistic way he imagines his actions. This dichotomy between the visual and auditory is an important function within the story, but our filmmakers are not done with their tricks. Towards the end of the short we discover that within the mind of a man who suffers from this sort of dementia – nothing can be trusted.

A sign of things to come, this troupe of talented filmmakers put their best steps forward and are sure to capture some awards with this smart short feature. If I had any issues with the movie, it might have been on the technical side of things because the audio seemed a bit hazy, but this hardly disrupts any sort of entertainment that the movie provides. A highly recommended short that requires very little time from the viewer. There’s almost no reason not to give it a shot. You can view it for yourself, for free, via YouTube right now. Give it a look and throw down a thumbs-up if you enjoyed it!