An FBI-trained neuro-psychologist teams up with a thief to find a reality-altering device, while her former boss unleashes bizarre traps to stop her. Starring: Adjovi Koene, Steven Lawlor Jones, Daniel Baek, Ara Woland and writer, director Sam Vanivray.
For a low budget, independent film, the synopsis alone gives you a very good idea of how high their sights are set and how thin they’ve stretched themselves. Trying to make a succinct and successful FBI centred drama, that isn’t massively convoluted or over the top, is difficult for any filmmaker, no matter the size of the studio and is why unfortunately, Brute Sanity is a 82-minute example of how it can go wrong. The actors are trying much too hard, to the extent that the one character who is actually attempting to sound robotic, comes across more human than the rest, resulting in many moments that are most likely intended to be humour but fall flat enough that it’s cringe-worthy. Consistently throughout the film the dialogue feels incredibly forced and at no point comes across as comfortable or relaxed, which makes for awkward viewing.
The sets and props are a big reflection on the low budget and there’s little production value to speak of, in a long list of issues the film has. It’s fairly universally agreed that guns are loud and yet the sound work on this particular feature, gives less of a bang and more of a whimper, added to a score which feels like something you’d find in a poorly made video game. The problems extend through to the camera work, special effects and location choices.
It’s always great to see a lead character being an intelligent, strong, woman of colour and while Adjovi Koene’s Keradin is clearly intended that way, it falls seriously short when she repeatedly flips from doctor to ditz, even so far as to forget about a bomb when it’s seconds away from detonation. It may be a step too far to compare it to The Office’s ‘Threat Level Midnight’ but it has the energy of a project that was made more for those involved than for audiences to enjoy.
Creating a plot with over a dozen characters, heavily relying on sci-fi special effects and props, for which there was an extremely limited budget, was aiming much too high. If the numbers of characters had been reduced and the focus sharpened on those that remained, potentially more could have been achieved but as it stands, Brute Sanity simply has little to offer and there isn’t enough believability to allow for an entertaining feature.