Minor Premise plays out like a trippy dissection of the human psyche.
Writer/Director/Producer Eric Schultz admits to intrigue in this area, and with this film, he ensures many others will become equally as intrigued.
If you’re a fan of sci-fi and issues surrounding the human state and why we are who we are, then you have to check out Minor Premise.
Science and the possibilities of understanding that lies just beyond our grasp make great topics for science fiction movies.
Sathya Sridharan takes the lead in Minor Premise as Ethan, a brilliant scientist battling demons that have led to him experimenting on himself. Ethan is the beating heart of this film, and if he’s not in every scene, it’s pretty darn close.
That means that if the weight of the film’s success behind the scenes falls onto the triple threat that Schultz brings with his writing, directing, and producing, then the on-screen magic rides on Sridharan.
Sridharan is an unlikely leading man, but he is mesmerizing to watch as Ethan battles the self-destruction he brought onto himself and valiantly tries to overcome.
Ethan’s scientific focus is on the memory, and with a contraption of his own design, he has mapped memories that can be shared with others, as if they are watching those memories in a movie.
But the more often he undergoes his own treatment to map and share more unique memories, the less stable Ethan becomes. He doesn’t recognize it at first, but with each memory, he’s slicing off a piece of himself into its own entity.
Ethan discovers that your memories are cataloged with the specific part of your psyche that was lit as the memory was created.
When Ethan begins losing time, he reaches out to the person he trusts most in the world, his ex-girlfriend Alli (Paton Ashbrook). Together, they search for answers to Ethan’s blackouts, how they relate to his experiments, and how they can put Ethan’s pieces back together again.
Writing that, it sounds a bit like Humpty Dumpty. It makes sense, too. Ethan takes a big swing, but when he goes too far, he breaks into all of the individual pieces that once made the whole man he was. Just like all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, Alli works tirelessly with Ethan to put him back together again.
In the meantime, Ethan is acting as many parts of himself broken specified by particular impulses. It’s not just his id, ego, and super-ego at play, but nine areas, including anxiety, anger, libido, primitive, and euphoria, to name a few.
While this film is meticulously researched and uses real scientific facts and methods to guide the film’s conjecture, I’m not that scientifically inclined, so you’re getting the layman’s version here.
The mystery starts with Ethan’s blackouts, but Alli and Ethan tag team videos so they can interact with all of the different sides to determine what part of Ethan is conscious at any time, how helpful they’ll be to resolving Ethan’s fractured state, and how to unlock the key and recombine the parts again.
Driving home Ethan’s erratic state is his basement laboratory. It looks damp, cold, and often unsanitary. It’s the rudiments of a scientific lab from someone who has become so single-minded on results that they’ve lost touch with many aspects of not only their well-being but the health of their lab, as well.
Sridharan’s got the role of a lifetime here. While many of us often hide our basest impulses, Ethan is fully engaged, requiring Sridharan to run the emotional gamut.
A lot of that plays out in short, chaotic bursts, but when you imagine how much work went into finding just the right cuts that made it into the film, it amounts to an emotionally and physically exhausting performance from Sridharan, and it really makes its mark.
Minor Premise is a film that sticks with you long after your done watching. The next time you imagine yourself lashing out in anger but rein yourself in before making a colossal mistake, you’ll recall Ethan’s nine sections acting without that balance.
I have no idea if brain damage from disease or injury could put any one section of the brain in limbo or permanently out of one’s control, but the concept of such consequences is fascinating.
The discussion escalates when you consider that your memories are inescapably intertwined with particular impulses (I’m not sure that’s the right word) and manipulated by your brain to form the recollection, which may or may not be representative of the actual event.
Maybe it’s just me, but any movie that can drive me into typing that last paragraph with as much excitement as it took me to do it earns my respect.
Minor Premise rests on a select number of individuals’ hefty talent, and it succeeds across the board. It’s entertaining and thought-provoking and packs one helluva punch. You’ll be scratching your head for days, and you won’t shake the feeling for even longer.
Minor Premise is available On Demand across all of the major platforms.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.