WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
Absolute forgetfulness. How frustrating this becomes every time we attempt to recall an important fact or reminder of something we intended to accomplish, only to see it fade away from our minds. We struggle to recollect, only to be either further stymied, or awoken with sudden, pronounced realization. Married couple Scott (Jake Vincent) and Mal (Casey Semple) are scientists working on a dream project. It is the kind of work the government has taken notice of and has expressed interest in, much to the pair’s elation, with future hopes and dreams riding on an upcoming test of their experiment. The rub, however–Mal suffers from growing dementia.
A source of constant aggravation and doubtful resolve, Mal’s only grasp on hope is Scott, whose own apprehensions about their success is tempered by his love for Mal and the belief everything will work out as planned. After a spontaneous demonstration of the creation, known as Palindrome, is tested for Scott’s friend Todd (Robert Sean Campbell), events progress for Mal in resolving the one facet of the machine’s design left to unravel, via a middle of the night revelation. Taking the finished product to their planned meeting with a G-Man (Tom Gough), things finally seem to be going their way–unless Mal’s disorder has inadvertently created chaos.
Next, my Mind:
With a wicked sense of purpose showcased via the film’s quite ingenious finale, writer/director/editor Mark Balunis’ 22-minute short film effort packs a sobering punch in presenting its concept of a theme about the toll mental illness can take on someone’s mind paired with the potential catastrophic price paid for human error caused by an even momentary neglect in caring for it. Additionally executed with an interesting, and equally freaky, sci-fi element to boot, the film is honestly a slow burn for the majority of its initial runtime, but trust this reviewer when I say the payoff is worth it! Smoothly shot and containing some pretty solid special effects given a limited budget (which indie films so often have to contend with), the project is carried on the weight of its narrative and character interaction/building, which again, is the ultimate strength of indie cinema.
Vincent and Semple work very effectively as the couple here, both scientists, both in synch with the goals they desire via a creation born of necessity, genius, and explorative ambition. Yet, Semple then illustrates the mixture of anger, frustration, and even depression that associates with Mal’s condition in such a heartbreaking way, that one cannot help but sympathize with her plight, especially in light of what she and Scott are attempting to achieve. Likewise, Vincent embodies Scott and presents him as a man so deeply devoted to their project, yet that much more dedicated to Mal and her deteriorating mind, expressing a tenderness and true love that circumnavigates even his commitment to the project. Both actors infuse their characters with a believability and vulnerability that lends the film its heart, even up to its edgy finale. Supporting turns are provided by co-producer Mark Schwab, Gough, and Francisco Garcia as well.
In total, “Palindrome” is a solid testament to the beauty of independent film in that beyond the simple overall execution and look of it beats a core centered on the human condition and drive to conceive, research, analyze, test, and overcome obstacles to find success, though in this case, it also becomes a cautionary tale about things that, when unchecked and forgotten, can spell possibly preventable disaster.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!