Directed by Scott Mooney
Starring Jaymie Knight, Eliza St John, Graham Yates, Atlas Adams, Craig Walker, & Donna Sizer
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Psychological crime thriller Neuroplastic is a gripping and intelligent short film directed by Scott Mooney and written by Mooney with Leon Sear. Set in a sci-fi England where lying has become impossible and citizens have implant chips in their necks, one man, Evan (Jaymie Knight), attempts to broker a deal with a shady organisation from the criminal underbelly of society, offering them the chance to purchase lie codes that will give them the ability to talk falsely for 72 hours.
Full of mystery and suspense, Neuroplastic creates a dark and brooding atmosphere which it maintains brilliantly throughout the run time. From the initial frames of bodies thudding to the ground to the ending sequence when...well that would be spoiling it...Mooney's direction is cool and confident, delivering some starkly compelling scenes. The visuals are a brilliant mix of intense intimacy and crisp cut scenes that compel and intrigue. As the plot thickens, and the swirling twists are revealed, the filmmaking becomes increasingly unpredictable and entertaining.
There is a formidable cast to enjoy during Neuroplastic. Knight is a spectacular lead, coping superbly with the dramatic intensity without faltering, and having brilliant chemistry with Eliza St John - who is excellent as Heather, his partner in the business endeavour. Donna Sizer is also marvellous as Matriarch - one of the criminals interrogating Evan about his product and the applications. Special mention should also go to Atlas Adams as the Tech who doggedly quizzes Evan about the lie codes, and makes more of the violent threats that pepper the dialogue.
A couple of plot threads felt underdeveloped, such as the backstory to Heather's suffering, and the overall history to the current "no-lie" civilisation that is being presented. However, these gripes are actually praise, as it meant I simply wanted to spend more time in this world created by Mooney and Sear, and would happily engage with a feature length version of Neuroplastic.
Like a cross between Liar Liar, Lord of War, and Blade Runner, fans of sci-fi drama will be in their element with this cool and compelling story about lies and manipulation at the highest stakes. With strong directorial proficiency, the short film is able to step into a genre that is difficult to compete and leaves a lasting impression, with interesting characters, sharp dialogue, and a filmmaking aesthetic that is incredibly entertaining.
Watch the official movie trailer for Neuroplastic below...