Science fiction isn’t everyone’s favourite genre. Eric Schultz‘s debut feature, ‘Minor Premise‘, is one of those genre films, that doesn’t know how to be entertaining. What if we could alter our memory to create a more ideal self? A rather unethical idea, that neuroscientist Ethan (Sathya Sridharan) has been exploring after the death of his father, who was also a neuroscientist. But after a breakthrough, things don’t go exactly as planned. For once, I wish I could have had a blackout.
Ethan has been testing on himself, down in his own basement laboratory. When his latest test splits his personality into ten different sections, each based on a wide range of unpredictable emotions, and one taking over from the next after exactly six minutes, he calls for his estranged girlfriend Alli (Paton Ashbrook) – who’s also his colleague – making her a liability who shouldn’t even be there in the first place. Their relationship never feels believable, since we didn’t get a chance to see how they were before current events. What could’ve been a slick sci-fi thriller, turns into something quite dull and overly scientific that’ll turn away a lot of mainstream moviegoers. The first half feels fresh and intriguing, but once you’ve gone through those cycles a couple of times, the second half becomes just one boring repetition of what we’ve seen before, resulting in a rather predictable ending that’s been hinted at earlier on.
Schultz is definitely skilled as a film maker, and the science presented is rooted in truth, with the help of co-writer Justin Moretto, who studied neuroscience himself. Unfortunately there’s just too many details to keep things entertaining. Confusion makes place for excitement and turns an otherwise memorable watch into a stroke waiting to happen. The constant flashing between personalities don’t add up for most of the film, almost giving you a sense of time travel, which was probably intentional. This doesn’t come across like a well thought through idea, and it doesn’t help that Sridharan isn’t a strong enough actor to carry all ten vastly different personalities for the entire runtime. Luckily, Ashbrook is here to save some of the scenes with a charismatic and powerful performance that’s genuinely enjoyable and brings a sparkle into an otherwise dark situation.
What could’ve helped ‘Minor Premise‘ is some sense of emotional backstory to make us care about these characters. Even though we’re talking about emotions and different parts of someone’s brain facing off to take full control over one’s consciousness, the film itself lacks any emotion whatsoever. It’s too monotonous, too far-fetched and just utterly lifeless to begin with.
Review – ‘Minor Premise’
Reviewed online (screener provided by publicist), December 3, 2020. Rating: TBC. Running time: 95 min.
PRODUCTION: A Utopia release in association with Uncorked Productions of a Bad Theology, Relic Pictures production. Producers: Justin Moretto, Ross O’Connor, Eric Schultz, Nicolai Schwarzkopf, Thomas Torrey. Executive producers: Andrew Corkin, Noah Lang, Chadd Harbold, Ramsey Lafayette, Michael Prall, Adam Wueger.
CREW: Director: Eric Schultz. Screenplay: Justin Moretto, Eric Schultz, Thomas Torrey. Editing: James Codoyannis, Christopher Radcliff. Cinematography: Justin Derry. Score: Gavin Brivik.
WITH: Sathya Sridharan, Paton Ashbrook, Dana Ashbrook.