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Friday, June 1, 2018


Movies that consist mostly of dialogue exchanged within limited settings are usually the sign of a low-budget production, and often of a not very good one.  But ALTERED PERCEPTION (SKD, 2018), which fits the former description pretty accurately, is very good indeed.  That is, if you enjoy settling in for some intense relationship drama.

What gives this film its kicker is that the three couples we follow are paid, voluntary subjects in a controlled experiment to test a new drug that is supposed to focus and amplify one's perceptions, obstensibly to enable people with certain emotional problems to better handle reality.

As we learn during a post-mortem hearing in which the drug company's researchers are called on the carpet to explain and defend some of the experiment's distinctly questionable results, things didn't go quite as expected for at least one of the three test couples.

Hidden camera footage and first-person video diary entries let us in on how things went down in each case.  One couple consists of a lawyer and his ex-prostitute lover who is forever accusing him of dredging up her past. 

Another couple is dealing with basic jealousy issues, with the wife's paranoia growing to dangerous proportions.  And in the third case, two lesbians are at odds when one accuses her partner's own brother of rape.

I was leery of this one at first since it had the potential to be nothing but a talky bore with endless chatter in place of action and cinematic interest.  Gradually, however, each story grows more and more complex and interesting until finally the entire experience as a whole is fairly riveting as well as endlessly unpredictable.

It helps, of course, that the dialogue is smartly written, the direction more than capable for a film so confined to its interior sets, and the acting uniformly fine by an above-average cast. 

Suspicions, recriminations, and accusations, all amplified by a drug that might or might not be "altering perceptions" of some emotionally volatile characters, are conveyed in dialogue and situations that build steadily until each of three stories pays off in satisfying fashion.

At least one is resolved positively, thank goodness, keeping things from being totally downbeat and pessimistic.  But as we suspect all along, others will not work themselves out well.  In fact, at least one couple finds itself in the middle of what might easily be described as horror-movie territory. 

But thanks to the overall sharp, intelligent work by all involved, ALTERED PERCEPTIONS rises above what might have been a static, forced melodrama and comes off as a modest but well-wrought success.  If you can get into this sort of mental cat-and-mouse game between couples who fit together like mismatched jigsaw pieces, you'll find yourself drawn into this trio of dysfunctional tales right up to the shocking conclusion.

Language: English Dolby 2.0 Digital
Subtitles: English SDH
79 minutes
Extras: none
Release date: June 5, 2018


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