Dir: Richie Mitchell (2012)
This Canadian-made movie from Richie Mitchell is now director-cut with three festival awards – and so FMR took another look at this micro-budget thriller shot entirely in black and white.
With the gorgeous Toronto backdrop of university buildings and cherry blossom, echoes of “A Beautiful Mind” thread through this story as widowed math professor Michael ( Jeremy Larter) and his intern, the beautiful and geeky Evelyn (Allison Dawn Doiron) discover a theory that predicts the future using math – through research they come across a program that runs this theory further, meaning they can look up any point in history, such as the first female president or first A.I. – but also can predict anyone’s death.
As they become romantically entwined, two mysterious men start following them – and that’s not all. Michael has discovered a horrible prediction – Evelyn will die in two days’ time, and he doesn’t know how to stop it. And when the men start appearing outside his window, the situation is about to get even more dangerous.
With a tiny cast and minimum locations with only a few thousand dollars budget, this work is fully fledged and has some nice nods to Aronofsky’s “Pi”, with an understated and quite haunting soundtrack that is both modern and somehow orchestral, the quiet approach pays off. Actors are well-versed and chosen with integrity, and editing is now tighter and works with dialogue over montage to give the viewer a sense of what came before without acting out every detail.
Although the story is huge compared to the resources available and would obviously benefit from a much bigger budget, Mitchell has pulled it off in terms of what this movie is: a DIY indie project achieved with little assistance and a lot of soul. I think it would be easy to question decisions on plot points and rip this movie apart, but basically I’ve seen blockbusters with only an ounce of the dignity given to this piece.
The only criticism would be that the film has been plumped in places and maybe tucked in a little in others: for instance, the actual theories given at the beginning would be great more fleshed out and some of the sweeping scenes of Toronto could be pulled up. Other scenes spell out plot points in a too-labored fashion while others left me confused.
The use of chat and text is interesting and not to be scoffed at, and the cinematography at times is decent and accomplished.
S.I.N. Theory is what micro-budget filmmaking is all about: pushing the boundaries of creativity and seeing what it is possible to achieve without all the whistles and bangs a studio would offer. It is a genre by rights, that moves into the new DIY age of technology we now live in. Good for you, Richie Mitchell.
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