Ego and personal demons come into play with Eric Schultz’s sci-fi noir thriller Minor Premise.
Ethan Kochar (Sathya Sridharan) is the son of a neuroscientist who recently passed away. He continues his father’s research dedicated to preserving and replaying memories with an apparatus called the R9. The experimental project is almost perfected, but Ethan’s goal is to control consciousness by mapping emotions to manage disorders like addiction and mental illnesses. Ethan has made himself a lab rat, testing the next iteration of the machine, the R10, on himself and suffering some alarming side effects. Blackouts, nose bleeds, and excessive drinking takes a toll on his well-being, but his drive overshadows his debilitation, and he’s obsessed with perfecting his work. When Ethan receives a mysterious package with his father’s notebook, he finds an equation that may be the missing link to a perfect machine. He ends up fracturing his personality, allowing each trait to take over his body at intervals, leaving him physically maxed out. There’s also pressure from Malcolm (Dana Ashbrook), his father’s colleague, and Ethan becomes reliant on his ex and fellow neuroscientist Alli Fisher (Paton Ashbrook). Ethan is working against the clock and some hidden agendas that may be the end of him.
Eric Schultz gives us a taut sci-fi thriller with many twists and turns. The audience can pick which version of Ethan to root for, and by the end of the film, we see a shift in motivations that appears like a gradual memory becoming more apparent over time. The character is literally working against himself and his ego, and it creates an intriguing premise of how we sabotage ourselves in the search for greatness.
Sridharan gives a lot to this role. He has to access parts of Ethan to differentiate his personality traits. He maintains a constant state of energy that must have been a challenge, but he rose to it and evoked many emotions towards this complicated mess of a character. It’s also nice to see a leading man who is of colour and fallible too. Both Ashbrooks were solidly cast as well, and the gorgeous cinematography by Justin Derry paired with the scoring by Gavin Brivik adds excellent tension to wrap this cool neo-noir indie in a neat package.
If you’re looking for a unique thriller, check Minor Premise out Dec 4 on VOD and in virtual cinemas.