Enter the mind of Jim (Jake Hoffman) - a socially awkward EDM musician with a traumatic past, a tenuous grip on reality, and voices in his head. When he meets Wendy (Nikki Reed), he thinks he might finally have a shot at happiness. But as long-buried memories begin to stir and his crush turns into obsession, Jim finds himself looking into a violent abyss... and he won't be going alone. Pulsating with raw energy and an intense electronic soundtrack, Enter the Dangerous Mind is a pitch-black psychological thriller that doesn't let off the gas for a second as it twists to its shocking conclusion.
Psychological thrillers are a tough balancing act. You've got to maintain a sense of dread as the lead character descends deeper into their psychosis while at the same time you have to have a ladder or some kind of device that offers the character some sort of hope. Even if they don't make it out of the hole they've dug for themselves, there at least needs to be that tangible goal to aim for. 'Enter The Dangerous Mind' is one part 'A Beautiful Mind,' one part 'Fight Club,' with a little bit of Darren Aronofsky's 'Pi' tossed in for flavor - only the results aren't as effective as they could be.
Jim, Jake Hoffman, is an IT extraordinaire by day and a budding dubstep mix artist by night earning thousands of followers on YouTube. The only problem with Jim's path to success are his numerous psychological issues. On top of voices in his head, he is dogged by his vocally abusive pal Jake, Thomas Dekker, who frequently berates poor Jim into doing things he does wan't to do in order to "be a man." Things are pretty routine for Jim until he helps his former psychologist Kevin, Scott Bakula, fix their internet troubles. Working in the office is Wendy, Nikki Reed, who just so happens to be a fan of dubstep herself. The two share an instant connection and offers Jim something to look forward to when they decide to hang out at a club.
As Jim's life improves, the sounds in his head start to run out of control. Not just voices, but horrific visions as well. It turns out Jim was psychologically tortured, tormented, and sexually abused by his half brother. Never having fully recovered, Jim's grasp on reality starts to fracture and not even his music can calm the voices that tell him to say and do terrible things. Kevin and Wendy do everything they can, putting together the pieces of Jim's psychosis in order to reach the poor man, but it may already be too late. Jim very well may be beyond treatment.
I'll give 'Enter The Dangerous Mind' a lot of credit for being ambitious with its story. There is a nice attempt at creating a thriller out of the material at hand, but at the same time - this movie promotes a very dated and insensitive depiction of people with mental illness. This approach towards having the crazy guy become the villain may have worked in the 80s, but in this modern era - it doesn't work and is grossly inappropriate. It would have been one thing if this movie attempted to be some kind of throwaway piece of slasher film but it isn't that. It tries to play things seriously but at the same time it doesn't treat the material seriously enough to give it the respect it deserves.
There are some solid performances here, with Jake Hoffman, and Nikki Reed doing a fine job in their respective roles. Thomas Dekker seems to be carving out a nice little niche for himself as an unhinged supporting character actor, and Scott Bakula does what he can with what little he's given to work with. Had the material been given some proper respect, this could have been a fantastic showcase for these actors. Instead, it feels like the filmmakers saw a sensationalist news clip about mental illness and schizophrenia and then decided to make a movie about it without having done any real research beyond "guy with mental illness goes nuts." The shame of this movie was that it had me hooked for the first half. I was interested in what was happening and curious to see where it went. The problem is the place 'Enter The Dangerous Mind' goes is so base and cliche I quickly became irritated with the whole thing and wanted it to end long before its 90 minutes was up.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Well Go USA brings 'Enter The Dangerous Mind' to Blu-ray pressed on a BD25 disc. The disc passes through a couple of trailers before reaching the main menu that is the dubstep music with some animated still images.
Until recently I was a strong promoter of digital filmmaking as a means to keep independent production costs down, but with some recent releases I'm steadily getting turned off by the technology. The 2.40:1 1080p transfer leaves a lot to be desired for 'Enter The Dangerous Mind.' While detail can be very strong here, it's the rest of the film's cinematic style that brings the show down. There is a frequent and irritating lightening and darkening effect that happens whenever the camera moves past a different lighting source. An inky black scene will look like contrast was suddenly blown out and then self corrects and then gets blown out again. When this happens there is an abundance of digital noise on display. Now I can't swear to it that this is a side effect of filming or the film being crammed onto a BD25 while only using 18 gigs of data - but it's distracting to say the least. Because of this, black levels that should be rock solid are inconsistent and appear overly grey and hazy and the ultimate side effect is that even during well lit daylight scenes - the image feels very flat and lifeless.
How much do you enjoy dubstep? I ask this because dubstep rattles throughout much of this DTS-HD 5.1 track leading to some intentional and unintentional side effects. On one hand, the booming bass notes feel natural and perfectly accentuate the scene, but then the next scene can sound entirely too soft and it becomes impossible to hear the quiet dialogue leading to some whacked out audio levels. Now some of these quieter scenes are by intention difficult to hear, but then it's an unintentional side effect, I frequently had to increase the volume to hear what was going on. Then the next scene could be rocked with booming dubstep music again and force me to lower the volume before I blew out a speaker. Thankfully things become a bit more balanced towards the last act, but it was frustrating to deal with for the first 90 minutes or so. With that, Imaging is all over the map with this one. One scene can sound pleasant and nice, but then after being racked with the music, the movie loses all atmosphere and any sense of sound design.
Trailer: (HD 1:53) If you want to watch the entire movie inside of 2 minutes, this is your trailer. Gives away WAY too much about the movie so that any surprise you may not have seen coming is spoiled outright.
'Enter The Dangerous Mind' was almost a good movie, but it took the easy way out rather than even attempting to say or do something genuine with its story about mental illness. At times it became hard to tell if this movie was supposed to be funny or terrifying - instead it became irritating and given its shallow treatment of the subject matter - enraging. With a subpar HD transfer, a problematic surround track and no real extra features - I just don't see much of anything to recommend this Blu-ray release of 'Enter The Dangerous Mind' for.