Directed by: Katie Bonham
Written by: Katie Bonham
Cast: Nicholas Vince, Eloise Daye, Kate Danbury
It was around twelve months ago that I reviewed a little short, The Paperround. It showed great promise and was an effective, almost dialogue free short. A year later director Katie Bonham brings us the follow up, Mindless. Nicholas Vince plays Peter, a seemingly dementia suffering single man living at home with regular visits from his home help, Ally (Eloise Daye). Each visit by the carer reveals more debris where Peter has presumably smashed up glass, plates and anything else that comes to hand. But the old man is adamant he didn’t do it. It was the woman on the settee. The empty settee.
This is a refrained tale which revolves around a powerful performance by Vince as the sort of sheltered housing resident that you really wouldn’t want to visit. From the opening scene of Peter glaring at the television while shovelling a bowl of cereal into his mouth to the final revelation scene this is an unnerving individual who has all the traits of a caged beast.
The film that this reminded me of was Chris Smith’s Frightfest opener from a few years ago, TRIANGLE. While necessarily less complex due to time constraints this evoked the feeling of piecing together and misdirection that Triangle had. Bonham has certainly progressed as a filmmaker in the intervening year and this has the feel of a more assured mature work. I look forward to seeing what this inventive writer director can achieve with a longer format.
There’s always a worry when you’re asked to review a piece for a person who you know. What if it isn’t as good? Do you lie? Be honest an risk that person hating you? Difficult situation to be in really. Thank you Katie Bonham for making this SO super easy for me.
We first meet Peter, played by horror fans favourite Nicholas Vince, in his home, surrounded by the fallout of what we assume to be an age related tantrum. Concerned care worker Judy (Kate Danbury) dismisses Peters beliefs that ‘She’ did it. That is, until, Judy falls victim to Peters state of mind. It’s easy to brush off something you don’t believe in, but what if it was true?
Part horror, part age concern commentary, Mindless manages to merge the two together perfectly. Nicholas portrays Peter with just the right amount of confusion and vulnerability , showing the frustration of a man tapped within himself, while Kate projects the frustration and worry we all feel when we’re unable to help someone in that situation. The script and direction allow the story to flow freely, making it a pleasure to watch.
I really don’t want to give too much away, as this is a film enjoyed best when you know the least about it. Needless to say, Katie has brought us something great here, proving why she is loved by the horror community and festival goers. She knows horror, she knows her audience, and she damn well knows how to make a great film.
Katie Bonham continues what is looking like a very serious hot streak with ‘Mindless’, a deeply unsettling and quietly profound short film that feels like a natural progression from her last short ‘The Paper Round’ without re-treading old ground.
The “social realism” that informs some of her other work is back again as we meet Peter (Nicholas Vince), an elderly, infirm man with apparent memory loss. As his carer arrives at his home, she finds it trashed, and admonishes Peter for me the mess in a way that suggests this isn’t the first time this has happened. In the face of her obvious skepticism, Peter steadfastly claims that he’s not responsible, and blames an unseen woman. This sets up Mindless’ central plot point, and the film ventures into dark, disquieting territory to resolve it.
To say much more would be to spoil things, but safe to say Mindless is another confident, assured effort from a director who has resolutely found her voice. Nicholas Vince is on commanding form as Peter, bringing the right levels of both frailty and quiet anger to the role, and much like The Paper Round did last year, Mindless will set up shop in your head and stay there long after the film is over.
Mindless has its world premier on Friday 26th August 2016 at the Glasgow Film Festival Film4FrightFest
You can also read what happened when Mitch sat down with Katie to talk about mindless ahead of its premier here