"Unresolved and Undermined Coda"
What You Need To Know:
REVOLUTION #9 is the story of a young man who starts having dangerous delusions, and his fiancé who tries to get treatment for him. Michael Risley turns in an excellent performance as James Jackson, an office worker in New York City who starts having paranoid delusions about television advertising and computer messages. His fiancé, Kim, also played well by Adrienne Shelly, gets little support from her family. She tries to get James to take medication prescribed by a psychiatrist, but James refuses. Eventually, a judge orders James committed, but the ending leaves James and Kim’s fate unresolved.
Despite some excellent acting and good direction, the movie ends abruptly, as if the filmmakers ran out of money and couldn’t finish. Still, the natural performances of Michael Risley and Adrienne Shelly as James and Kim are well done. The rest of the cast also does a good job, including Spalding Gray as a conceited photographer. Director Tim McCann does a good job of drawing in viewers with compelling drama and light touches of comedy. The movie contains some harsh, very strong foul language, however, and some humanist, Romantic elements. Viewers, therefore, should approach REVOLUTION #9 with extreme caution
(B, H, Ro, Acap, LLL, V, S, A, D, M) Light moral worldview with some humanist elements and a Romantic element at the end and anti-capitalistic delusions are rebuked; about 33 obscenities, one strong profanity and 10 mild profanities; lightly depicted and implied violence such as gang briefly kicks man lying on ground, man slits wrist off screen, bloody hand shown, and mentally ill man tries to kidnap another man but woman fights him off; no sex scenes but engaged couple has been living together when man starts having delusions; no nudity; alcohol use and woman works in bar; smoking and psychotic man forced to be medicated; and, computer hacking rebuked, attack on medical insurance companies and fathers fail to support daughter and son confronting traumatic mental illness.
REVOLUTION #9 is the story of a young man who starts having dangerous delusions, and his fiancé who tries to get treatment for him. It’s a low-budget movie reminiscent of last year’s Oscar winner, A BEAUTIFUL MIND. Despite some excellent acting and good direction, the movie ends abruptly, as if the filmmakers ran out of money and couldn’t finish.
Michael Risley turns in an excellent performance as James Jackson, an office worker in New York City who starts having paranoid delusions about television advertising and computer messages. His fiancé, Kim, also played well by Adrienne Shelly, gets little support from her family, especially when James starts suspecting his precocious little nephew-to-be, who’s been associating with some computer hackers on the Internet. Kim tries to get James to take medication prescribed by a psychiatrist, but James refuses.
Things come to a head when a gang beats James up while he’s wandering the streets and subways. James cuts his wrist, and a judge finally orders him committed to a hospital where he has to take his medication. Kim stays by his side, but the movie’s ending is a “Lady or the Tiger” plot that leaves the fate of James completely undecided.
REVOLUTION #9 treats the bizarre delusions that affect James in a tense, at times comical, manner. The drama between Kim, James and Kim’s family slowly engages viewers in a compelling way, despite the movie’s low budget.
The abrupt ending presents a philosophical problem as well as an aesthetic one. Right after the story ends, the movie’s soundtrack goes into a rendition of the old pop song that goes, “Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart?” This cryptic message gives a Romantic philosophical spin to Kim’s moral courage in standing by her husband-to-be when he is suddenly struck by the terrible disease of schizophrenia. Thus, the movie asks viewers, “Will Kim’s emotional courage be enough to save James from his disease and repair her relationship with James?” The answer to this question is left up to the audience.
REVOLUTION #9 could use a little bit of a rewrite, including a better ending and a bigger, more dramatic emphasis on the moral dilemma facing Kim. The movie also relies upon the humanist solutions of the psychiatric world to treat James’s condition. Medication and counseling can indeed help many mental patients, but they also need to be supplemented by spiritual and moral guidance from an intelligent Christian expert. Such biblical guidance is helpful not only to the patient suffering from mental disease, but also to the friends and family members who love him.