Opening with a Youtube-news clip montage about recent American violence soundtracked by generic dubstep womps and circuit sounds, Enter the Dangerous Mind seems to begin as a commentary on the same sociopathic notes that films like The Purge have explored with such shallow– though admittedly entertaining– comprehension. Violence comes from the most dangerous of minds in reality, but to be quite frank, it becomes apparent that there are some very dangerous minds in Hollywood when films such as Mind appear in theaters.
The film follows a computer geek, Jim (Jake Hoffman, son of Dustin), who finds solace and minor fame as an internet-based dubstep artist. His inept social and romantic skills give his only friend, Jake (Thomas Dekker) plenty to act all kinds of obnoxious about. Despite mutual affection with a social worker’s assistant, Wendy (Nikki Reed, Twilight), he slowly begins to spiral out of control until his Jake is revealed as, what it seems the filmmakers hoped would be, the 21st century Tyler Durden. Jim’s violent ways begin to overcome him and the film never really looks back at the rest of narrative.
Violence comes from the most dangerous of minds in reality, but to be quite frank, it becomes apparent that there are some very dangerous minds in Hollywood when films such as Mind appear in theaters.
Despite its dated nature (the film actually played the festival circuit two years ago as Snap), it begins rather well. Hoffman and Reed have an awkward, but likeable chemistry and do the very best with the flat material. Their early charm provides an easy-to-digest charm against the harsh underground-EDM score. One particular scene finds them describing why Jim loves to produce dubstep so much. He calls it “the noise in his head.” There is an interesting psychological study right there – given the genre’s rise post-9/11 and the technological boom. That’s a discussion for a very different movie though it seems. Mind has a mild interest in exploring violence and mental illness, but only as an excuse to be “psychological” so to speak. It’s a thriller– like too many now adays– that attempts to find an interesting framework to disguise itself as smart, only to spin in a very swift spiral into the most decades-old of cinematic clichés.
Following the big Fight Club reveal about half-way through the film, any narrative tension that had been built is smashed anvil-flat. Hoffman’s performance, though not entirely his fault, shifts from alright to almost atrocious. Again, this is not his fault as he does all he can with the paper thin writing in a deplorable, logic-defying third act. Scott Bakula’s social worker is thrown in the mix to add some tension as he pursues a key to Jim’s troubles. But, he does not do too much.
That is really the case of Enter the Dangerous Mind. Especially following a banner year for the thriller genre, it’s frustrating to see such a low-initiative narrative in the independent realm. However proficient in its low-budget technical success, it’s a film that already feels dated. Maybe it is just those dubstep screeches in the film’s score…yeah, definitely. However, it lacks any innovation in concept. It’s tired, clunky, jumbled and very flat, and nothing that hasn’t been screened before. So beware; you do not really need to enter.