Not Me, Murphy (2013) 1h 1min · Drama · 16 November 2013
According to the project's Kickstarter, Not Me, Murphy tells the "simple" story of a man with dissociative identity disorder. It's part spiritual journey and part case study, narrated by Murphy's care-taking girlfriend Lynn. After a visit from her odd-ball mother, Lynn leaves Murphy, prompting him to take to the country with Brad, a mutual friend. Out in nature, surrounded by gun enthusiasts, their awkward-charming journey takes an unexpected turn. It's thrilling to study the very unwell mind, and to imagine its heights and depths without having to experience it first-hand. Dissociative identity disorder, perhaps better known as having a split personality, is frequently adapted to the screen [Shutter Island, Psycho, Fight Club] because it provides one of the rare occasions when mainstream audiences will stomach experimental technique. Cinematographers and colorists can paint mind-bending hallucinations, actors can play dueling personalities within the same body, and directors can build complicated stories without fear of losing their audience. Tamed by Hollywood conventions, we're ready to roll with the weirdness that comes our way. And Jason Yamas delivers. Until the final twist, Jason Yamas doesn't break his contract with his audience: we're treated to a harrowing but somewhat straight-forward tale of madness, while Yamas, his cast and his crew are free to play with the film's formal aspects. Shot on popular amatuer medium Super VHS, Not Me, Murphy's sharply defined outlined objects and spaces are filled in with milky shadows and grainy color. The light is pinkish when warm, colorless when cool. The cuts are jumpy and disorienting. We are watching some other family's home movies, edited together with an avant-garde sensibility. Sound, meanwhile, alternatively highlights plot points or overwhelms us with information. We overhear improvised conversation often vulgar, repetitive, or incomprehensible. It's a schizophrenic approach often seen from Harmony Korine and his ilk. Because these techniques give so much over to chance, the characters feel as immediate and as inscrutable as the people we encounter in real life. It makes their violent outbursts of compassion and sex all the more surprising, and pleasurable. - Written by MIX NYC Film Festival
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