You would expect that being a crisis hotline operator would be a fulfilling job. Maybe even exciting at times. The reality is a little different. In the digital age, being a phone operator can be a little boring. Even for those picking up the calls of a crisis hotline. We're introduced to Simon, taking over the graveyard shift from a bored colleague. As mentioned, working a phone line can be tedious work, and Simon is informed that particular night, had been more of the same. Working the phone, even a crisis line, geared for the LGBT community, can add that extra pound of ridiculous situations to any shift. From prank calls to those looking for love, the hotline always seems reserved for anything but a crisis. Simon buckles in for another night of lonely callers. At least that would make his night a little less run of the mill. That is until Danny calls in. What was first expected to be more of the same - quickly cycles into a call that may be a real crisis, as Danny is threatening suicide. More and more Simon begins thinking that this is the real thing. He could actually make a difference. As Danny continues to tell his story we're treated to the events paving the way to this life ending situation, as Simon calmly tries to talk him down. Before his shift is finished, we're left with a story of love. A story of betrayal. All the pieces that make an interesting film. Before the night is through we'll find out that things are not quite what they seem. This is it. This is the very reason these "crisis" hotlines exist. The question is... was it enough?
I always love a good indie flick. Especially one that looks and sounds great, on what you know was a small budget. That pretty much sums up "Shadows In Mind" from Mark Schwab. Setting aside the trend leaning towards hand-held, this is mostly a visually traditional production. And that ain't bad. Using the call center as the wrap-around part of the story, past events are used a-la flashbacks, bringing us viewers up to speed - before finally finishing in real time. It's a pacing that works well for this particular story. Using the wrap-around conversations adds drama to the start and middle of the film, as we meet the characters and get into the story. As far as the post work goes, I was impressed... yet not surprised. Having seen a few other productions from Mark Schwab, many containing a lot of the same cast members, I'm always elated to see movement within the art. Forward motion is always a pleasure to witness first-hand. Schwab has actually raised the bar of his own creative work - meaning I'm going to have to raise the bar when considering a rating. A compliment through and through.
Speaking of raising the bar, "Shadows In Mind" features some really convincing performances. Simon, Danny and Kyle - Corey Jackson, Christian Gabriel and Pano Tsaklas respectively, really strut their stuff as the main three. Corey Jackson has the tough job of connecting with actors he's never in the same room with. Somehow... he pulls it off. Looking uneasy at first, then giving way to real concern. Christian Gabriel and Pano Tsaklas show us that opposites do attract. That "honeymoon period" giving way to those true colors, really shine through loud and clear. However, the real interesting thing about "Shadows In Mind" is that even the supporting cast tighten their laces and deliver some great performances. There is very little "upstaging" happening in this film. Everyone holds their own. A tribute to Schwab himself, who no doubt cast the characters. Through and through this is a well written, well acted production. The little twist at the end? Loved it.
"Shadows In Mind" is the textbook example of taking what you have, and using the sh*t out of it. Maybe a little slow for the impatient people of the world, but for anyone who loves the "build" of a story, you'll have no problems enjoying this film. A solid four stars. Nothing wrong with that.