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(Sep 14, 2010)
WINNER: BEST NON-HORROR FEATURE FILM 2010 BUFFALO SCREAMS FILM FESTIVAL!
Rupert Graham (J Paul Nicholas) never much questioned his existence. His life was a pragmatic, 3D reality one where day to day work ruled and big dreams were long dead. There was no point in looking upward or inward. It was all in front of your face.
But when his Shaman grandfather (Victor Pagan) dies, Rupert begins to have odd dreams, visions, odd synchronicities. His psychiatrist (JIm Lavin) tells him they are a problem and they attempt to medicate it all away. Until he meets psychedelic researcher Dr. Ken Rennet who tells him to embrace it all. Rupert sets off on a inward journey and must struggle between the fear and the wonder (and the sabotaging efforts of Dr Rennet's egomaniac computer A.I., Syd (voiced by Trace Beaulieu of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Cinematic Titanic) It becomes a race between pharmaceutical dependence and psychedelic sanity.
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This is TRIPTOSANE.
From the start, there is a visual intimacy verging on intrusive nature to the film. Like a photographer's use of self-portraiture (being both the object and the observer)as a means to delve into the nature of self, the use of videography plays a vital role in this film to ask the eternal questions that haunt us all.
Technically, this is a slick yet dark & murky film. At times, clean as a TV movie, then cluttered like the mind full of dream "stuff". Cleverly used special effects are sprinkled throughout: Mandelbox effects blend the dream/trip scenes perfectly, color shifts and effects add to the overall tone, just shy of being too psychedelic.
Music can make or break the mood of a movie. Never was there a moment in viewing this where music was inappropriately placed. It was the hammock that let us melt into the story.This is one of those movies that viewers should stay for the end credits, if only to listen to the haunting closing song. The movie's only weakness was the dialog audio which was uneven and at points muddy.
In general the acting was crisp and believable, dialog realistic and the pacing grew more frenetic as the intensity of the story grew.
There are several humorous and self effacing moments. (laughed out loud at the "Jesus & Buddha" line as well as the comment by Tina in the closet).
TRIPTOSANE demands its audience to be intellectual and ultra-open. Could the Sheeple even begin to grasp the vocabulary of the Shamanic world? There is a sense of preaching to the choir. Or is it merely an insider's celebration with others in the know?
In the end I felt itchy. Like something under my skin was crawling around trying to find a way out. But in a good way...