Jemima: Sessions of the Mind Movie Review
I guess once you get use to killing, it starts to become boring. –Jemima
Written and directed by Uisdean Murray
2008, Region 0 (PAL, NTSC), 47 minutes, Not rated
Joy McAvoy as Jemima
Jo Menzer as Victoria
If you haven't seen any of the films in the Jemima trilogy (Photographic Trophy, Dating is Murder and, now, Sessions of the Mind), then you probably wouldn't know Jemima. The brainchild of writer/director Uisdean Murray, Jemima is a female serial killer who has no time for nonsense. While the first film released was Dating is Murder, it's actually the second film in the series as Photographic Trophy is a prequel and Sessions of the Mind closes out the series.
When we last left Jemima in Dating is Murder, she was lining up her next victim and things seemed to be going pretty well for her. She had her shit together, had a solid plan for picking her victims and disposing of their remains and exuded a confidence that most people would be jealous of. So it was quite a shock to see Sessions of the Mind open with a broken and defeated Jemima in, of all places, the office of a psychiatrist. The double whammy came when it came to light that she was there not for killing someone, but for admitting to killing many. Oh, Jemima, what happened to you?
Sessions of the Mind is completely different from the previous Jemima films. Where Murder and Trophy are straightforward pieces, Mind has a very surreal vibe to it, mainly due to its look, but also its script, too. Shot mainly in black and white, with a gritty and bleached-out appearance, the film does not look anything like the first two shorts. Normally, I'm not a fan of this type of art house style, but I'm a big fan of Jemima, and by the end of the film the decision to shoot in such a way makes perfect sense. Murder and Trophy are both very solid shorts, but Mind raises the bar a notch, and there is a depth to it that the prior two do not have. Mind is a film that demands to be discussed, but only after two or three viewings, so you can grasp what the hell you want to talk about.
The script is also different from its predecessors. Instead of a quirky thriller with more black comedy than not (which I never complain about), Mind is more philosophical. It's an unfamiliar territory in this trilogy, but completely welcome because of the topic at hand, and it really works. This film isn't a how-to on slicing and dicing a victim or an explanation on why Jemima went over the edge, but rather an exploration of what's going on in Jemima's head, so a script riddled with dark comedy would not be as appealing as what Murray chose to do.
Joy McAvoy reprises her role as Jemima, and as in the previous offerings, she is fantastic. She is not nearly as vocal in Mind as the others — she is damn near catatonic here — but she is still more than able to convey her feelings when needed and has made Jemima her own.
Jo Menzer plays opposite McAvoy in the part of Victoria, Jemima's psychiatrist. Victoria is night to Jemima's day, and it's a heavy job Menzer has because she is entrusted to more-or-less carry the movie since Jemima has withdrawn so much into herself. Menzer is able to do this in stride, and the two women have a great onscreen synergy, even if only one is doing the majority of the talking.
Uisdean Murray has directed a damn good closer to his Jemima trilogy with Sessions of the Mind. This is a film that only gets better on repeated viewings, and the trilogy has done a nice job showing all aspects of the Jemima character. Currently, the official site has the Jemima trilogy available for £9,99 (in both a PAL or NTSC region free option), and is well worth a blind buy.
Video and Audio:
Video and audio will not be graded as this is a screener.
Special Features will not be graded as this is a screener.