The Pitch: Daniel Isn’t Real opens up with a boy worded Luke( Griffin Robert Faulkner) running away from home amidst a horrible crusade between his parents. Down the block, he witnesses the aftermath of a grisly shootout at a diner, where he congregates Daniel( Nathan Chandler Reid ), a figure only he can see. Shortly thereafter, it’s revealed that Luke’s father left his mother Claire( Mary Stuart Masterson ), who Daniel ” tricks ” Luke into poisoning with her own medications. Just recovering from the poison, Claire then pressures Luke to fasten Daniel away into a dollhouse that resides in their home. Times and years later, when Luke( Miles Robbins) returns from college to tour his mother — who’s now been diagnosed with schizophrenia, judgment you — he releases Daniel( Patrick Schwarzenegger) from the dollhouse and the two friends–one real, one imaginary–pick up where they left off.

Can You See The Real Me? In the social media senility, people must wrestle with who they perceive themselves to be, and how they’re perceived by the outside world. Now, more than ever, having a persona or a firebrand is important not only for celebrities, but for the average Jane or Joe with an Instagram account. In a practice, the Twitter avatar acts as our id, our animalistic advocates for nutrient, sexuality, drink … instant gratification.

Through social media, beings reach out to the world in the semblance of who they want to be–through filters, photos with the exact right angle, and perfectly curated and interrupted opinions-and, all too often, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Daniel Isn’t Real implements the concepts of the id-alongside that of probable mental illness-to plane a mental thriller that, although it is not silly or high camp, certainly enjoys in the exploitative sort of it all.

Daniel Isn’t Real( Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Two Natures Are Better Than One: Daniel Isn’t Real isn’t a cinema that’s searching for answers, even though filmmaker Adam Egypt Mortimer leaves his audiences with spate of questions — especially smothering the titular figure, Daniel. Portrayed by Schwarzenegger with calmnes and swagger, Daniel may be a physical manifestation of Luke’s schizophrenia … or he may be his id came to see you life.

At the very least, he’s not necessarily brutality upon first opening — more Fight Club’s Tyler Durden than Drop Dead Fred. He’s slick, he dresses wild, he knows how to talk, and nothing appears to scare him. Because of this, Daniel is not just an hypothetical friend, but person Luke aspires to be, and it’s telling in how Daniel’s advice often leads to greener pastures for Luke.

But is Luke at his best when he’s listening to Daniel? He certainly wasn’t when he told him to kill his mother. That’s the grey zone the film smolders in, and Mortimer’s slight touch never feels self dishing or ostentatious, even despite the relatively ponderous topics relating to the implementation. In some respects, the film concedes that we should listen to our animalistic pushes, merely that we should never forget our own egos.

In other terms, don’t cut off your snout to spite your face.

Daniel Isn’t Real( Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Mirror In The Bathroom: Like Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill and Raising Caine, Mortimer’s use of schizophrenia, inner demons, Freudian psychology, and struggled matricide aren’t precisely exerted for commentary, but simply used as plot maneuvers. Even so, the movie is relentlessly entertaining. Luke and Daniel’s relationship is the core of this movie, sliding from an precarious friendship to a battle for Luke’s soul. No kidding: The movie climaxes with a peculiar and mad trip into Daniel’s psyche, drenched in neon and synths, that facets his inner villains attested as literal beasts. A sword fight ensues.

The Verdict: Daniel Isn’t Real is exploitation that eschews the trashier elements of the genre. As a director, Mortimer enclose a great shot and gathers gangbusters acts out of Robbins and Schwarzenegger. It’s thoughts, but likewise massively entertaining category cinema.

Where’s It Playing: Daniel Isn’t Real has a limited release on December 6th.

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