Film Festival & Photography Contest
Film Critic, the founder of Leitura Filmica
2019, USA, 24 min
Written & Directed by: Michael Jeremiah
The Lunatic depicts the never-ending battle that a soldier of the United States Army Special Forces must endure, following mysterious voices in his head.
The movie title appears just after this introduction, making it clear that these hallucinations affected his psychological estate, therefore Jefferson Freeman is called by the nickname “The Lunatic”.
In fact, this story calls for an action-packed film. The first scene after the opening title shows the protagonist arriving from his last mission and moving towards the big city with an exciting electronic soundtrack that reminds us of the action movies of the 1980s. Therefore, right from the beginning it is expected to have a lot of action in it.
Michael Jeremiah, the huge actor that plays Jefferson Freeman also indicates that the movie contains a lot of action scenes. The actor, with his cold expression and few words to say, efficiently portrays a Rambo kind of hero, building up a protagonist ready to put up a fight.
However, when the action sequences appear in the movie, they fail to meet the high expectations created. They include some violence – a fair work from the special effects department. The viewer may be disappointed because there are no fights on the screen. And being the hero a Green Beret, performed by an actor physically strong, it would be thrilling to see him in a hand-to-hand combat.
The screenplay and the direction build an interesting main character, but the movie cannot explore all his potential. The Lunatic is an exciting story with a promising new hero that deserves to be better explored.
Produced by: Michael Jeremiah
Cast: Michael Jeremiah, Nick Tylor, Kevin T. Collins, Franklin Abrams, Martin Pfefferkorn, Kirk Larson, Tom Dinardo, Ed Bergtold, Coy Deluca, Michael J. Warner, Lenny Palmieri
Green Beret Jefferson Freeman returns to civil life after being retired, but he still has many battles ahead. Voices that he hears in his mind since childhood keep tormenting him.
The introductory sequence of this short movie manages to incite the viewer to find out what is happening. Director Michael Jeremiah creates a mysterious tone with a blurred image of a disguised man walking in the shadows and two men shot in big close-ups, tatalizing a boy’s mind.
The movie uses radio and TV news broadcast to tell that a war between gangs is terrorizing the city. And the voices in The Lunatic’s head will not rest until he takes some action. The director inserts recurring images of the two men of the introduction whenever they tell him to fight those who are responsible for these crimes.
A child who "learns nursery rhymes when he speaks with two men in his head" grows up and becomes a decorated Green Beret. After one too many battles he is forced into retirement. Seeking to get lost in the crowd in New York City he finds that he hasn't really left the war behind him.
The tone of mystery is obtained firstly by omitting information from the viewer. Secondly, by filming mostly during the night and in underground sceneries, with a very dark cinematography. The lighting is very efficient, especially in the shots filmed on location on the streets at night. Most importantly, they are connected to the obscure tone of the narrative.
The Lunatic would benefit with a more clear and straightforward narrative. There are some sequences that slower the pacing, like the encounter with the one-eyed homeless man and the long explanation about the underground lodge. It is important to mention that the scene where Jack picks up the gasoline can when he is already talking about it is completely unnecessary.