The Duplicitous Mind | Reviewed by Snigdha Sen
The Duplicitous Mind, written and directed by Robert Rippberger is the best shot to have your mind blown off. Few short films have made it till here to mark a resemblance. Once you watch this piece of art, you can not wrap your head around any other. This US originated film is a pure crime thriller with a small touch to the world of magic. In addition, the audience gets an experience of hypnotism, heists, illusions with many thrilling twists and turns. The portrayal of AI is a bang on and enough to get your mind blown. The entire film is structured like a long form magic trick with hidden clues, symbols and meaning, hence the moment you take your eyes off the screen, you miss out on a hint to comprehend.
The theme of the movie revolves around the choice between love (The Queen of Hearts) and power (The Ace), and it is commendable how the usage of cards has been linked up with the film, kudos to the brain that penned this. We get to see two sides of humans, one that chooses power and the other love. The dichotomy of one man’s lust for power (Ace of Spades) and one man’s loyalty to love (Queen of Hearts) propels our lead into a labyrinth traversing a heart torn in two. Apart from love and power the other most significant theme to zoom in, is magic. The director has skillfully drawn a battle between traditional magic and digital magic as a Magician and the Artist, a crooked businessman team up for a heist that turns into a magic trick and an illusion onto itself.
The opening scene starts with an ongoing therapy session, through which the narrator dictates the duality of the mind and its confusion. The voice that we hear tells us about the confusion between visuals and their truth or hidden meanings. Such things often pass our vision. The narrator states his disbelief and expresses that he can not rely on his vision anymore, bringing in the significance of digital power or possibilities of artificial intelligence in today’s world. This is an amazing topic to make a film on today’s date.
The director, at the end, leaves us with an open-ended question, ‘What would you choose to believe’? This leaves us bewildered. This seventeen minutes running time keeps us awaited for long, as we fix our eyes on the screen.
The film opens with the Magician on the stage performing a show alongside his Assistant. The Magician shows the audience how magic actually works , he reveals his tricks and explains how magic can manipulate your brain and eyes. Behind the scenes, the Magician happens to be in love with the Assistant, as they are caught in an affectionate scene, just then to trouble them, intervenes a man, who calls himself ‘The Artist’. The Artist offers a deal to the Magician, which the latter ultimately decides to do, a heist job for the Artist to obtain a valuable painting.
We are taken aback, when it is revealed that the Artist works in the surveillance business and is trained to manipulate CCTV cameras as per his convenience. In the twist of events, to add on to our disbelief, it is revealed that the Assistant happens to be working for the Artist the entire time, with the plan being a set up to steal valuable diamonds hidden behind the painting and to have the Magician take the fall for the heist. The Artist initially grins ear to ear, as he flaunts his power and control over the Assistant and blackmails her with a tricked video surveillance. But in conclusion, the tables are turned as we learn that the Magician and the Assistant were actually the masterminds the entire time.
This is an amazing film on magic, science and psychology, an all in one and definitely worth investing your time on this.
Snigdha Sen is 24 years old, postgraduate in the field of Languages and Linguistics. She is based out of Kolkata, India. She is well versed in English, Bengali, Hindi, German and French languages. She is an educator of English Language and also a content writer and editor. Her love for reading beats everything else.