Other Madnesses (2017)
Starring James Moles, Natia Dune, Sheilah Smiley
Directed by Jeremy Carr
Sporting a shirt that says “I’m crazy about New York”, a tour bus guide goes on a vengeful, vigilante-styled spree of retaliation and delusion throughout the Big Apple…but the question remains, was it all a dream? Prepare to enter Other Madnesses and make the determination for yourself.
Directed by Jeremy Carr, the movie spotlights a man named Ed Zimmer (Moles), a rather reclusive fellow who spends his days atop an open-air tour bus, describing the vast city structures and landmarks to dozens of camera-toting tourists. His zest for the job is as expansive as the knowledge he possesses about the city that he loves – charming to his customers, and always willing to put on a smile for a picture after a tour. His issue is that the metropolis that holds his heart during the work hours is one that is breaking it during his down-time, watching the endless scourge of drugs, violence and prostitution running rampant through the streets. His dreams begin to offer chilling prophecies, such as the abduction of a young girl – Ed’s not quite sure what’s bringing these visions on, but he now knows that it’s something that drives him. Acting as a vigilante against the many vices of the city, his life (and sanity) is literally splitting in two, and now with a new lady-friend (Dune) in the mix, his loyalties lie even more unclear as he attempts to quell the images in his mind.
Ed’s troubles begin to grow larger as the presence of a mysterious man (Ilya Slovesnik), who claims to know all about his inner workings, begins to show up at the most inopportune times. First off, I feel the need to commend Moles on his absolutely commanding performance as the wracked Zimmer – looking as mentally frayed at the height of psyche-shutdown, all the while keeping a calm and pleasant demeanor for his audience is the stuff of greatness. He virtually shoulders the entire load of the film, and combined with simplistic, easy to decipher circumstances he’s immersed in, it all adds up to a film that echoes Taxi Driver, but scales it back ever so slightly. Blocking out all essence of color during Zimmer’s more tense moments adds a hint of complete dissolution to his way of thinking, and Carr uses the sightlines of the city to an advantage when laying out the film’s many telling stories. Overall, Other Madnesses is a simply fantastic film to watch – perhaps a bit on the sluggish side of things, but in the end you too will know what damage can be done to the human intellect with repeated illustrations of solitude and self-contemplation…maybe you could throw a crappy, monotonous job in there to boot, but let’s face it, once said impairment has occurred, look out.