Wednesday, March 20, 2013

SNAP (aka ENTER THE DANGEROUS MIND) (2013) movie review

Snap (aka Enter the Dangerous Mind) (2013) d. Youseff Delara / Victor Teran (USA)

Mentally unstable but musically adept Jake Hoffman shields himself from the outside world, interacting only through his downloadable dub-step dance tracks. Yet there is no reprieve from sinister alter-ego Thomas Dekker who antagonizes and belittles his every move, especially when it comes to interaction with the opposite sex. Upon visiting former therapist Scott Bakula, Hoffman meets the friendly and attractive Nikki Reed, a chance encounter that leads to a dangerous two-way obsession for both.

This not-so-thrilling psychological thriller dances around similar cinematic terrain as Fight Club, Clean Shaven and Spiral, minus its forerunners’ original voices. While a capable performer, Hoffman lacks the live-wire charisma of an Edward Norton or Peter Greene, his inner demon struggles coming off as more than a little rote. The idea of pairing the dizzying electronica tracks with a sociopath’s misfiring synapses is an interesting one, but even though Reza Safinia’s soundtrack pulses and pounds on a visceral level, not enough is done with the concept proper. Similarly, society’s views of the mentally ill are given gratuitous lip service, lifting the lid of a worthy examination but dropping shut shy of engaging beyond the surface.

But Snap’s biggest stumbles lie in co-director Teran’s dialogue and plotline, riddled with scores of clichés from superior efforts and plot twists so obvious they can’t really be considered twists (experienced viewers will see them coming from the opening frames). The earnest cast does their best to wring juice from this well-chewed material, with Reed evoking shades of a young Brooke Adams and Bakula doing his best well-meaning schlub while lending elder statesman gravitas. (By contrast, Jason Priestley cashes a quick paycheck for growing an Aidan Quinn-like beard to play a superfluous psychiatric figure.)

Thankfully for genre fans, things ultimately manage to get a little wet, but even the violent climax feels more calculated than inspired, providing little if any insight into a legitimately disturbed mind. One gets the impression that Teran and Delara’s hearts are in the right place, seeking to prompt a discussion whilst providing a few pulse pounding moments. Unfortunately, when the lights come up, the conversation is more likely to turn to topics of “missed opportunities” and “seen it before.” An impressively polished effort to be sure, but an overly self-conscious one that never finds its own voice or beat.

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