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By Amy R. Handler | June 6, 2013

Thomas L Phillips’ newest feature, Quite a Conundrum, is just that, a series of monumental, insurmountable problems that heap one upon the other, to create the most monstrous dilemma conceivable. How this happens and why will be for you to figure out. Good luck with that… In the meantime, here’s how it all begins:

Mimi is having bored, ungratifying sex with a creepy gentleman more than twice her age. To make matters worse, the man (who turns out to be the legal partner of Mimi’s father), talks incessantly while in the act, which upsets the volatile Mimi to such a degree that she begins slinging insults at her partner of the most demasculinizing variety. You get the picture…

Mimi lives at home with her younger, virginal sister Kylene. Though Kylene seems to be more mature than her beyond spoiled older sister, we begin to feel doubtful about her too, when we learn that Kylene’s primary goal in life is to get her very Christian boyfriend (no—not in bed…), as wasted as possible. This will happen momentarily, at the little get together Mimi is planning with her best girlfriend, Tabitha (the other half of the Mimi-Tabi salacious duo from hell). Without telling you anything more, let’s just leave it that the little house party traverses to realms completely unimaginable, and none of them are good.

To attempt any serious analysis of the often comic, thriller-horror Quite a Conundrum is not an easy task, because there are so many schisms in plot and character that it’s hard to digest the film as a whole. For example, can you really laugh at the humorous, cynical banter between Mimi and Tabitha, as people are suffering the most vile, traumatic moments of their lives? And yet, even in its most slapstick state, this brilliantly enacted, soon to be cult classic film seems different than others of its ilk. Oddly, Quite a Conundrum feels intelligent—almost moralistic in the values it teaches about the sordid, banal existence we tend to create for ourselves.

Will this bawdy, violent, fiasco-instilling escapade appeal to most viewers? Of course not, though in its strange way, Quite a Conundrum will most definitely captivate just as many mainstreamers as indie fans. The reason for this is very simple. Thomas L Phillips has created something that’s not only painstakingly thought-provoking, but camouflages great beauty and substance amidst its more obvious rubble. Now isn’t that the very essence of great cinema?

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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