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Gone Mind Short Film Review

★★ Stars

Directed by: #TobyDialah

Written by: #EmmanuelChinedum


A headshot of a woman is layered over two times to give a hazy look - the vibrant orange background making this centre image stand out even more.

“Vulnerable adolescent slips over the edge while she battles a psychological problem that promises to change her life forever.”

Gone Mind is a short film that follows a story of struggle and attempted understanding. Jael (Favour Chinaza) is seen to be suffering greatly from a form of psychosis; her family and friends try to help to the best of their ability but with little knowledge of the situation, as well as Jael finding it difficult to express her issues, frustration and confusion quickly formulates as a result instead.

The opening dialogue of the film is instantly gripping with well written lines that someone experiencing a similar mental health issue can connect with. The idea that this body is mine, these features are mine – I know I see with these eyes but I still feel detached from them. It’s like living in a different world that is a lot of the time fuelled by fright and anticipation for what might come next within the walls of your own mind. The writing in this sense did a great job with portraying the main character’s perspective throughout the story.

The only thing I was longing for by the end of Gone Mind was a wider range of music or possibly extracts from a different genre type. This could have definitely assisted in the story evolving more fluidly as well as allowing the characters to actually evolve with the unraveling tracks. Pairing such delicate words, in the context of the dialogue mentioned previously, with music that is fitting to a horror/thriller didn’t sit right with me; the surrounding musical aspects of some scenes takes the focus away from the true emotional centre of the subject at hand. It almost dulls the impact of how the words could be interpreted by audiences, especially if they are watching the film with no real life experiences of individuals struggling with psychosis. How they view the issue could easily be warped, and this is where the trouble begins to slowly show itself…

Individuals with psychosis are not violent most of the time, its mainly other factors in their health that leads to someone struggling with violent behaviour responses linking to psychosis. The stigma surrounding these mental health issues heavily consist of people shying away from those who are struggling because of the large spread misconception of violent behaviour in this way. Film is one of the hardest codes to crack here, psychosis being used for the plot of a horror or thriller with blood spill. Take a moment to think about how much that impacts on audience perspective of the disorder being presented. There’s a thin line between using the disorder and the person suffering as a weapon in the story, and writing the character who simply has the disorder a ‘villain’ — where the disorder isn’t acting as the villain instead. There needs to be a distinct balance seen. Unfortunately, Gone Mind does cross the threshold of it being harsh representation due to the way the short film concludes. Putting the bloody element to the side though, the content does stand as quite informative in terms of raising awareness of how psychosis affects individuals and the relationships around them.

The biggest issue I have overall is that Gone Mind has been promoted as part of Mental Health Awareness Month. For the reasons above, it’s difficult to get behind using this as a piece of awareness for a hugely important topic. It’s frustrating to see fear being provoked by using disorders like psychosis in film; audiences should feel uneasy, of course they would if they are exploring something unknown to them, but definitely not fear.

All in all, Gone Mind is really a brilliant breakthrough for the cast and crew with a small production. Despite the hiccup of a conclusion, it does stand with some much needed attention towards a disorder that isn’t prominently presented in media. With good relationships established within the short space of time, a very important component to a story of this nature, Gone Mind is a great achievement.

You can watch Gone Mind here.



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