Directed by: #NeilLinpow
Film review by: Brian Penn
We often view hospitals with a modicum of ambivalence. Wishing they weren’t necessary but knowing full well how much they are needed. Very good things or very bad things will happen; people either get better or they don’t. And hospital is invariably the place that opposite ends of the life cycle will play out. Ash (Neil Linpow) sits impassively in a car outside a hospital. He listens intently to Lesson 7, a recording that will set him free. The gentle, hypnotic tones of Max (Michelle Fairley) will guide him through this stage of his journey.
He enters a dimply lit, grey hospital and searches for something but what exactly is it? Max is soothing and caustic in equal measure, berating Ash for the slightest indiscretion or departure from his task. He wanders almost aimlessly past doctors, nurses and patients. Max almost ceases to be a recording, and instead morphs into a breathing being who reacts to what he does or more significantly what he doesn’t do. Will he reach his destination and be ready for lesson 8. What tasks could he possibly have completed in lessons 1-6?
Lesson 7 presents many teasing curiosities that annoyingly stay in the viewer’s mind. You watch thinking the premise is easily understood but then presents another version of the truth. It explores the implicit theme of hypnosis and power of suggestion. Can a beguiling voice be so mesmeric and trigger such deep seated reactions in the sub-conscious mind. Director and co-writer Neil Linpow maintains a brooding presence to perfectly capture the mood. But the real bonus is the crystal clear delivery of Michelle Fairley as Max, adding gravitas to the piece. This film is cold and daunting but demands the viewer’s attention for a tense but tightly packed six minutes. There are less disturbing ways to pass the time but few could be quite as compelling. Neil Linpow has a great eye for genuine suspense and deserves to be on our radar.