A schizophrenic professor finds himself at the center of a game that’s not quite what it seems. Rose (Teya Patt) is in Vegas for a friend’s bachelorette party and checks into a hotel room to meet childhood friend Abe (Michael Tennant). He wants help with his thesis and offers her one big favor in return. But what he’s asking for is much more than she bargained for.
While it can be frustrating that some of the film’s ideas, particularly those surrounding the nature of love and desire fall flat, there are other moments, especially in the dialogue between Rose (Katlyn Carlson) and Abe (Michael Tennant) – their chemistry is believable and often charming.
They’re childhood friends who have both gone their own way while staying connected, with similar cynical senses of humor and progressive worldviews that can sometimes cross over into snobbery. But it’s Teya Patt who shines the brightest, giving a brilliant performance that reflects just how much she has grown as an actor since her days on ER. She’s heartbreaking, sweet, and charming in equal measure, with a speech near the end begging for pity that is as matter-of-fact as it is moving.
Michael Tennant is a well-known voice actor and has worked on a variety of different projects. He has appeared in multiple series of the BBC One drama Black Mirror and is also a writer, playwright and disability rights activist. He also stars in the hit TV comedy series Posh Nosh and has made many appearances with fellow Scottish star Arabella Weir, including a Doctor Who audio drama and the West Wing Ultimate Quiz. He is also a panelist on the BBC Radio 4 show The Motive and the Cue.
Pretty Problems follows Jack and Lindsay, a couple in a professional and marital rut. Can their relationship survive a weekend excursion with their uber-wealthy friends? This imaginative yet surprisingly grounded romp won accolades at SXSW, including the Narrative Spotlight award.
Despite having a small role, Pooja Batra makes her presence felt. Her acting skills and ability to hold her own in a thriller are on display here. She also impresses in her brief scene with debutant Dhruv Bali.
It is interesting to note that the film explores serious conditions like schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder. But it fails to explain them in a way that is both sensitive and compelling. It is also a bit insensitive to use mental illness as an excuse for a bloody and violent movie. This could have been a much better film had the writers been smarter about it. Nevertheless, the director has a good grasp of style and atmosphere. He should have paced the movie a bit more carefully though.
Omi Vaidya is an actor who has done a variety of roles in movies like 3 Idiots and For Here or To Go? He is also a film editor and has worked on a few short films. He has a good screen presence and performs well in his role as Jay Verma. His performance as a professor who begins to question his own sanity is impressive.
This movie is a good attempt by debutant director Vijit Sharma to take the genre of psychological thriller into fresh territory. He manages to engage the audience till the end with his layered story without the usual masala and nach gana found in Bollywood movies. The performances by Parvin Dabas, Pooja Batra and Dhruv Bali are noteworthy. However, the snail pace treatment and unnecessary scenes dilute the film’s impact.
Director Vijit Sharma makes a decent attempt at making a psychological thriller without the usual masala and songs. Parvin Dabas and Pooja Batra stand out in the film while Omi Vaidya is a passable add-on. University Professor Jay Verma (Parvin Dabas) is facing several problems in his life including a failing marriage and an indifferent career. When he learns that his student Ronnie is having an affair with his wife, he hatches a sinister pact to murder them both.
The 123 movies film is layered and offers surprises at regular intervals. The plot is original but the Hollywoodish treatment may prove to be a deterrent for Indian audiences. However, it is worth watching for a thriller that does not have an interval and offers some genuinely gripping moments.