Revolution #9 (review)

As a character study of one man’s descent into paranoid schizophrenia, Tim McCann’s Revolution #9 is a far more harrowing and far less prettied-up picture than Ron Howard’s oh-so-Hollywood A Beautiful Mind. New York tech writer James Jackson (an astute Michael Risley) looks over the edge when he accuses his coworkers of reorganizing his desk — by the time he violently confronts the director of a TV commercial (Spalding Gray: Kate & Leopold) whom he believes is trying to control his mind through a perfume ad, Jackson has gone off it. And the ministrations of his fiancée (Adrienne Shelly) only make things worse, as the half-hearted efforts of our mental-health system only seem to him like part of the conspiracy against him. Appropriately cynical social commentary aside, #9 never quite ignites — though nerve-racking on a visual level, the proceedings feel overly padded out and repetitious. Strikingly unsentimental, the film would have been even more powerful as a 45-minute short than a 106-minute feature. Of course, it’s bad enough, the treatment that the makers of uncompromising indies get — if only the industry didn’t conspire against makers of short films all the more.

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