A few months ago I was sent a link to a very interesting project from a man named Mark Lund. The 49-year-old, whom American’s might know from Skating with Celebrities, has turned his hand to the art of film making. Writer, director and producer, Lund’s first feature film is a hard-hitting sci-fi drama, Justice Is Mind. The movie premiered last August and has been screening at theatres, uni’s and conventions ever since, and it has recently been announced that its international premiere will take place on Cunard Line’s ocean liner Queen Elizabeth on October 29, 2014.
God loves a trier, and I hold my hands up to Lund for a gutsy effort. When I first sat down to watch Justice Is Mind, I felt apprehensive. Talk of futuristic MRI scans with mind reading capabilities left me worried that this was just a Scyfy channel knock off. To my surprise (and to great relief), I was wrong. It is a thinker with a psychological edge, that – thank heavens – relies more on the strength of its characters and story than any flashy, cheap looking special effects that you often see with indie sci-fi type flicks.
Justices’ lead, Henri Miller (Vernon Aldershoff), is a successful business type and family man whose recurring headaches lead him to, as is so often the case, ending up on a double murder charge. It happens, right? Set a couple of decades in the future, Miller undergoes a FVMRI – a super, awesome MRI-like technology that allows you to view past memories – to see what is causing his severe head pains. The scan revealed, however, a clip of the restaurant owner shooting dead two people on his farm, or so it appeared. Despite not remembering the incident, nor there being any physical evidence to link Miller to the crime, it was the start of a groundbreaking criminal trial: can someone be convicted of murder based on a past memory?
It is a slow starter – one that does not kick in until the trial commences – but it is gets your mind working. Justice might not fully convince in every aspect, but it dares to bite off some interesting, and controversial, subject matter. From government surveillance, technology to religion, there is a lot going on, ending with a rather head-scratching ending. The court room sequences are its strongest point; powerful, intense and well constructed. Kim Gordon, who plays prosecutor Constance Smith, and Paul Lussier’s character, Miller’s lawyer John Darrow, battle it out in court in convincing fashion. The movies climax does fall in to the realms of the farcical, but in a strange way, I kind of loved how very left field it all felt.
It is an impressive attempt at constructing an intelligent sci-fi drama, and although it has a few bum notes, some uneasy dialogue and a questionable ending, Justice Is Mind has enough going for it, both intellectually and creatively, to make Lund’s first attempt at a feature length film a watchable cinematic experience.