On the surface, Jake is a regular dude going through life as best he can. Perhaps reserved and a little awkward, but who isn't right? Jake works two jobs, has a few acquaintances but not quite any friends - as he more or less sticks to the same routine as he rolls through life. He also happens to be testing the waters of his mind by seeing a shrink. His goal is to be - and feel more like a normal person. Jake simply hopes all the talks with a psychiatrist will help him, and I'm sure many could relate.
As the film progresses, we learn more about Jake's personal life, his mental state, and even find out that his psychiatrist has his own issues that he's dealing with. It's when a new girl joins the crew at Jake's workplace, that this film really starts its trip down the rabbit hole - and we soon find that what we've been seeing isn't exactly what we at first thought. I was glad to be along for the ride. I'm not going to give much more away regarding the plot, because quite frankly, you should find out for yourself. But this film definitely earns it's four stars - and I highly recommend it.
So, let's cut right to it, shall we? Sheldon Maddux's film "Neon Days" is one of those movies that starts off a little odd and quirky - like Jake himself, and slowly gets dramatically deeper as it progresses. Generally speaking, I usually have a rough idea of what I'll rate a film about a half-hour into it. I was thinking perhaps three stars would be the number here - and three stars ain't bad. However, the next thing I knew, the film was over and I hadn't written any notes along the way. I was literally sucked into the world Sheldon Maddux and his troupe had put before me, and that's got to count for something right? "Neon Days" is one of those creeping movies for sure - and I mean that in the best possible way. Indie, studio, whatever... when you completely forget you're watching a film, you know damn well it was good. Period.
I don't have a lot to write about the technical aspects of this film. Really. For the most part, I was more than a little surprised at how well this movie looked and sounded. The usual hallmarks of low-budget movies were almost non-existent, and as you may have guessed from what I wrote above, I ended up forgetting I was watching an indie flick at all. But being completely honest, some of the instrumental aspects of the background score were not my cup of tea, but I loved the use, and choices of the actual songs in the film.
If I had one thing that kind of stuck out a little, more during the first act of the film than any other, was the tone of the movie. It literally felt like "Neon Days" was going to be more of a slap-stick comedy, much like the "American Pie" titles - and then it never did. This feeling I had eventually went the way of the dodo, but was present none the less. It felt like "Neon Days" didn't really know what it wanted to be until it finally hit its stride. Not a big concern, but noticed.
At the end of the day? What does count is that I really enjoyed this movie. As stated, much more than I initially thought I would. Simply put, it's a good script acted out by a bunch of talented people. Even the supporting cast came across the way they were meant to. Very effectively, the layers of the mind are explored, and what I think sets this film apart is that "Neon Days" demonstrates that nobody is perfect. I enjoyed how the story was presented, I enjoyed the little twist that takes place - and was just generally entertained. What more is there? Mission accomplished, and a big thumbs up. Four stars.