Review By Sean Canfield
The short film Simple Mind was recently submitted to us for review, and no matter how big or small, good or bad, we vow to review everything sent our way, especially independent productions. This one, written and directed by Phil Newsom, was shot in the Forest Hills neighborhood in Queens, New York. While I believe that all films should stand on their own two feet with no explanation beyond the runtime of the film, it is notable that this particular short was shot for the incredibly small (even for a short film) sum of $200. The cinematographer, Paul Nameck, helps in this regard with well lit scenes, and since he also edited the film, he guides it amicably to the end.
While there are some minor technical issues to be corrected in future productions (some shaky camera work and muffled audio) overall the film is well made, and the star of the short, Timothy J. Cox is probably someone you’ll see a lot on the coming years, because the entire film hinges on his performance, and he knocks it out of the park. Cox plays Bob, a young man who is discussing the issues he takes to heart in the world with his therapist. As the story goes on, we learn that maybe not all is as it seems in Bob’s world. The joy of the film is the ending, and like all good short films, it ends strongly. Since there are only 7 minutes to tell the story, there has to be some type of hook, and this film definitely has one.
Despite the aforementioned technical issues, overall, the film is well shot, with crisp photography, excellent shot choices, and clever direction. If the expectation is to be entertained, one will find that the film succeeds on that front, but as we are only getting a glimpse of what the character is going through, there is not a ton to be learned. However, I feel that this is a rare short film in that the story would benefit heavily from some major expansion as far as the psychological behavior dealt with in the film is concerned.
Overall, for a 7 minute film shot on a $200 budget, the film is an ultimate success, and Timothy J. Cox proves he can do a lot with a character in a very short amount of time. He shows a wide range in accomplishing one goal, getting the character to the end of the film. As a launching pad or calling card (as most short films become) this one works, and I’m curious to see where the filmmakers go from here.