Midlands Review - Depicted Illusion
By midlandsmovies, May 21 2019 06:42PM
Directed and written by Jordan-Kane Lewis
Depicted Illusion is a new dramatic character study from young student filmmaker Jordan-Kane Lewis which explores the mind of a serial killer whose victims also become his “art”.
Opening with a Blade Runner-style electronica score, the short begins with a dead body and what looks like a crime-scene photographer taking pictures of a slain woman.
However, this is actually Johnathon, the killer himself who is also a photographer and who uses his gruesome scenarios as the backdrop in his regular job.
The film also uses a voiceover (ironically like Blade Runner’s original cut too) and attempts to blend the disturbing night-time incidents with some more mundane day-time conversations.
The mix of dark lighting and digital sounds echoes some of Nicholas Winding Refn’s work – which seems an influence – and the filmmaker has high aspirations mixing heady religious themes into the protagonist’s murderous intentions.
The filmmaker acknowledges their low budget and short time to plan and unfortunately this is noticeable in a few specific areas. Especially the sound which could do with another pass in the editing studio.
Using mainly on-set audio recording there is sadly a noticeable hum in an unbalanced mix and the voiceover also gets lost in a soundtrack that is at times too loud and also too sloppy.
Some consistency would help in the lighting too but the filmmaker does make a lot of interesting shot choices. Keeping the audience visually engaged, the director – clearly cinematically influenced – adds in “God” shots, drone shots, slow zooms and sequences filmed from a car to tell their story which is to the film’s credit.
As the serial killer drags more bodies around, the voiceover moves into a sermon of the killer’s manifesto of sorts and whilst the acting is a little under-par, parts of it reminded me at times of the blank expressions within Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.
The killer uses photos of his victims in his art – a bit of Lords of Chaos here crossed with Velvet Buzzsaw - and the ending sees a group of white-masked cult members (fans?) coaxing Johnathon to a local pub.
Dressed like the party-goers from Eyes Wide Shut, but filmed in what looks like a Wetherspoons, another location would have added more atmosphere but the film’s strange ambience continues with a macabre and non-explanatory conclusion.
The filmmaker is not short of cinematic inspiration and throws a lot of meaningful ideas into the 15-minute short but it’s slightly undone by the – albeit acknowledged – confines that go with a student film.
However, whilst not entirely successful on the technical side, Depicted Illusion delves deep into the mind of a disturbed individual with some resourceful flourishes despite its low budget limitations.