In One's Right Mind - Short Film Review

★★★★

Written & Directed by: #CharlesWhiteley

Starring: #JoBall, #CalChapman, #JohnEwens, #AnthonyOxford, #RufusShaljean

Short Film Review by Taryll Baker

Poster for In One's Right Mind

A Dystopia where people take pills to stay happy and positive. A son named James stops taking his regular dose to realise everything is not as happy as it was advertised.


Every now and then there’s a short film that comes along with a really bizarre but somewhat grounded concept. I’ve seen a few of these already this year and it baffles me that these intriguing filmmakers are still working in short-form storytelling. In retrospect, a lot of them work so well as smaller stories, but something as relatable as writer & director Charles Whiteley’s In One’s Right Mind could definitely be expanded upon. In a world where people struggle to find inner peace and true happiness, a drug to induce such effects are widely available. A pill called ‘lucids’ make the user forget the drowsiness of day-to-day life, and bring smiles all around, but at what cost?


A strange blending of modern characters (seen in the way they talk and dress) in an old-timey setting (vintage furniture, cars), In One’s Right Mind takes viewers on a trippy journey into the lives of one family; more specifically James (Rufus Shaljean), as he begins to stop taking the ‘happy’ pills that everyone is hooked on. In a visually stunning and gritty few minutes, Whiteley manages to compel and excite the senses with a beautiful mashing of sound and music. His visual approach is nothing short of brilliant, the colours popping off the screen, the framing of every scene, the climatic escalation as the film draws near its close. This is a strangely inviting tale and one that was captured and crafted with fantastic skill.


The small cast do a great job of meddling happiness and sadness. Shaljean’s stripped back performance is the more connective of the lot, due to his more reasonable nature. Jo Ball and Cal Chapman play James’ parents, addicted to the lucids and adamant about getting their son back on them as soon as possible. Their twisted portrayal of loving parents sparks the most interest; the final moments of the film has a very disorienting and hurried pace thanks to this duo. Where the film ends up is a little predictable, but to see it explored further in a feature would be a treat.


In One’s Right Mind has a high-energy music score by Bobby Horsfield that consistently drives up tension with its dark tones and invigorating rattles of distortion. It builds on itself throughout, until a burst of energy erupts alongside the imagery and leaves a breath of smokey air as the film cuts to black; a sense of release and relief both audibly and visually. The production itself is very nice; the aforementioned old fashioned furniture and scenery add to the weird atmosphere, as does the moody colour grading overtop.


Whiteley’s vision is well-focused and this solid little film is a fun and interesting look at a Dystopia where people rely perhaps a little too much on fabricated products to bring joy, rather than the real things all around them.


- #TaryllBaker