There are moments of gorgeous snapshots and poignant image stitching within Speed of Mind. Unfortunately its attributes fall victim to the film’s overall shortcoming. It feels like the unloved child spawned when Gummo and Slacker had one too many beers at a trailer park theme party based around abstract reality. Actually, that sounds brilliant to me.
Patrick Hasson’s film wants to explore the moldering framework of two families in a small Florida town, while focusing on the outcasts of both households. Dell, a mute child who suffers the physical and mental abuse of his strict and religion obsessed father, can only find comfort in his neighbor Jim. Jim is also childlike, though he is young man who has simply become reticent since his parents’ deaths. I couldn’t understand whether the two seek solace from the rest of the world or simply want to hide themselves from the constant tangents Hasson insists on exploring.
Speed of Mind is shot in a stream of conscious style, but does so only because the director seems uncertain as to what he wants to communicate. The only sensible images in this film surround Hasson’s metaphorical footage of a looming cyclone alongside the confused montage of Dell’s schizophrenic uncle, Matthew, who is traveling to see Dell in hopes of saving him from further abuse. Though Hasson toys with special effects, the only effective trick he can master is the time-elapsed photography he conveys Matthew’s mental state with.
When there is straightforward action within this film, the dialogue quickly becomes tedious, and the voice over that dominates the rest of the film is an ineffectual attempt at any screenplay or explanation. The only saving grace of Speed of Mind is its impressive photography and camerawork in the final denouement scene. Oh wait, can you have a denouement in a stream of conscious film?
Speed of Mind is an interesting idea that never took the time to think itself out. If it was going to be experimental, it should have done so full force; otherwise it exists as an insipid work of piecemeal. Though, the director’s business card is elegant.