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"Painless" Is an Impeccable Film with A Lot of Feeling

This is Candice and Mark, and this weekend, we covered the Other Worlds Austin Film Festival. It is a sci-fi film festival. And we just watched "Painless," and man, I was so in that from the beginning. It was a captivating movie.

 

Mark says

Yeah, it's a good companion to the other film that we saw. It seems like the motif was very thoughtful selections. Very introspective selections from this film festival, and this was definitely an interesting introspective story about this character's journey to understand himself and in the context of other relationships, which in going with “Everything Beautiful Is Far Away,” the two could be bookends.

 

Candice says

I honestly was thinking about that movie a lot while we were watching it because both films were so much about risk and risk in terms of love.

 

Mark says

And solitude.

 

Candice says

And solitude. This isn't the first time that I've seen a film take on this issue of people who can't feel pain. And normally they treat it like it's a superhero trait.

 

Mark say

The premise behind "Darkman" is that he can no longer feel pain.

 

Candice says

Or Frances in “Deadpool.” He can't feel pain and somehow that makes him superhuman. I think every other time it's been considered, the people are basically reckless in the sense that it doesn't matter if you get hurt because you can't feel it. I think has always been ridiculous, because it doesn't mean that you're not hurt just because there's no sensation. Or watching some of the fight scenes in “Deadpool,” and his arm is still broken whether or not he feels it. This film looks at how not feeling pain would make someone ridiculously cautious and closed off.

 

Mark says

And also fragile. That you'd have the ability to do substantial damage to yourself and not realize it, because the signal that tells you that you were on the verge of making things worse or hurting yourself worse would be gone. So the idea that if you had a rock in your shoe, you might actually do permanent damaged to your foot because you wouldn't have that first signal that, "Hey. I need to get this rock out of my shoe." So very small things. And you know it plays into the character carrying this very detailed first aid kit everywhere he goes. Very small things could be compounded into so much worse, because he'd never know enough to back himself away from whatever caused the initial pain.

 

Candice says

I love my character driven stories, and you know that's a thing with me. I love it. And from the very beginning this movie grabbed me because so much was told in this unspoken montage of his childhood and his relationship with his mother. And I don't want to spoil anything, but it told you everything you needed to know. I probably haven't seen a silent montage that good since "Up."

 

Mark says

It's a really good example of what it's like, not in just this character's unique situation, but any situation, where you watch a parent go from having a child that they they consider typical to discover they aren’t. It would be the same thing with someone who has a child that has autism. The little hints and signs that you would see along the way that would tell you, “I don't think my child was typical.” And then you watch the parent slowly put the pieces together and realize that everything is different than you thought it was. Her expression and the little things you see in the montage, you see her realize know this is not what I had thought. It's very sad and heartbreaking, but it's also an experience that so many people have in various ways that it instantly humanizes and grounds the character.

 

Candice says

Yeah. The acting in this movie was really, really good.

 

Mark says

It was on a level far above indie film.

 

Candice says

Far above most science fiction.

 

Mark says

Usually in indie film, actors tend to be people with a theater background. They tend to over emote because they're used to projecting to the back of a larger room with a crowd. These actors were capable of such subtlety and such small expression that I didn't get the impression that these were student actors or people from theater.

 

Candice says

I'm basically going to have to IMDB everyone who was in that and just watch anything else that they were in. The main character, played by Joey Klein, his performance was just amazing. I was on that ride with him the entire time. He definitely fluctuated back and forth in his decisions on what he was going to do, but it never felt unmotivated.

 

Mark says

The biggest comparison that this should be compared to is "Awakenings." And that was an Oscar winning film.

 

Candice says

I loved that movie.

 

Mark says

And it's an amazing film. But it's another film about people on the on the cusp of trying to solve a medical riddle and dealing with the emotional and interpersonal things that go along with that. And I would say this is definitely in the vein of “Awakenings.” If you like that movie, you should watch this, and it will definitely cause some strong feelings, especially when the character is faced with the idea of the risk of trying to solve what he considers to be a deficiency. There are parts of you that want to see him solve the riddle, and part of you is also worried that he won't appreciate what he has.

 

Candice says

Not even appreciate what he has but rather he's going to get what he hopes for and it's not going to be what he wanted. It's going to be terrible. It's weird how even though this is an extremely rare disease that almost no one has, I still think so many people will identify with this. Normal is an illusion that people become obsessed with. They think that they can be normal, and no one's normal. Everyone's different in their own way. And yet it's something that I think many people strive for. And I think it's when you finally let go and accept that there is no normal and that you shouldn't be coveting this.

 

Mark says

There's only happy and unhappy.

 

Candice says

Right. Also looking at the different layers of pain that they examined, it was just a really well told story. I can't say enough good things about this. The director [Jordan Horowitz] did a great job. Just the difference in the way that they filmed the apartment in his isolation versus the happy moments in his life. It almost seemed like it had like a gloss on the lens.

 

Mark says

Yeah, the cinematography was very, very well thought out. I was also impressed because normally when you watch especially procedural shows on television, they show these laboratories that are ultra-neon with huge computer screens and super slick looking.

 

Candice says

Enhance.

 

Mark says

They are talking to the computers and all this other stuff. And I spent a lot of time in the labs when my dad was going to RIT and Cornell. These are world leading places where research that changes the world is being done, and none of them look like what you see on television. But everything here, maybe because of the budget or maybe because there was a real quest by the director to be realistic, looks like and feels like the laboratories that I've seen. With the exception of his his fancy clear chalkboard that he was using for notations, and that's really something you have to do if you're going to show somebody thinking and writing. Everything else was just so realistic in terms of how it's done. The kinds of equipment that people have and all that, I didn't feel cheated by the story like it was cutting a lot of corners to make magic.

 

Candice says

I think that was the thing I liked the most was that it didn't feel like magical science. I mean it was definitely science that was beyond my understanding. I understood it enough. But of course I'm not an expert in gene therapy or anything like that. But I feel like they still gave an answer, ultimately, that was satisfying. I always have an issue with movies that come up with a problem that's too big to solve and then you come up with an answer that's not satisfying. And I thought this movie didn't do that at all. It didn't try to assume that the audience was just going to be dumb enough to accept nonsense.

 

Mark says

Yeah. It wisely picks up a space to play in where you would understand why there are not a lot of like people researching or pharmaceutical companies examining. So it's believable that these guys would break scientific ground because there's just so few people that experience the syndrome and so few people that would be researching it so that anything they come up with would be new. It's not like somebody who discovered the magical cure for cancer when there's millions of actual people researching it right now.

 

Candice says

I can't really think of anything that I didn't like about this movie. It's one of those movies where I didn't even feel time pass. I think this is an incredible movie to check out. I think it won some awards at film festivals that it's already screened at, so I'm not surprised by that. If you see it, let us know what you thought. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook or write us in the comments below and let us know. All right. Anything else Mark?

 

Mark says

That's it. It's amazing.

Mark and Candice

Mark and Candice

Sometimes the best part of reading an article online is engaging in a conversation in the comment section. However, discussions involving opposing points of view between strangers can devolve into a toxic environment. So what if these conversations were had between two people who loved each other?

At Cheek to Geek, our contributors consist of a diverse group of couples who are steeped in geek and popular culture. Our reviews reflect the back-and-forth, opposing or concurring, debates that geeks are notorious for having. But our founders, Mark and Candice Roma, have always felt that the love and respect felt for certain fandoms should carry over into the way we discuss them. Candice hopes that by modeling fruitful and productive discourses in our blogs, vlogs, and podcasts that we can show our readers the value in having disparate opinions and that differing perspectives don’t have to lead to hostile confrontation. “Mark and I have been together almost nine years, and every time we go see a movie, read book, go to a new restaurant, or see something awesome, we immediately ask what the other one thought. We don’t always agree, but having a conversation with my husband is my favorite part of experiencing something new.”

Although Cheek to Geek focuses on the opinions of specific couples, Mark believes that our vision for the site will extend far beyond that. “Ultimately the goal of art is to communicate, and the goal of communication is to build a community.” Our mission is to create a positive, inclusive, and safe environment for the appreciation and discussion of popular art in all its forms. 

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