Accurately conveying a mental illness is one that filmmakers often find difficult when it comes to their movies. Some, such as David O’Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook may focus too heavily on the symptoms and how they differ from the norm in an overrated way. Whilst Jon S Baird’s Filth (last time, I promise) may shrewdly unravel our characters in an unnervingly realistic way. There is a fine line with what is stereotypical, what crosses the boundaries into cinematic farce and what falls into the more visceral and humanistic way. Jonathon Birch’s Resonant Frequency, to be shown at the London Short Film Festival next year after its success at the London Film Festival two months ago, is one that is able to convey both a cinematic film that acutely portrays the struggle with mental illness.
Birch's admirable short is a wonderful introverted journey into a troubled psyche that is told through the extrovert nature of cinema. Our young man's issues are depicted through sound; speeches through the white noise of radio waves as he believes those around him are conspiring to kill. The film is beautiful in its chaotic character because it delivers the tragically accurate nature of someone who is mentally ill. Enthralling you into the story of a mind swept up in voices and pictures that aren't real, Birch is weary of not theatrical and overtly succumbing to the usual tricks or stereotypes of cinema and places this visceral vein of broken humanity through it. As our lead struggles to cope and connect with the works, even the audience are submerged into the battle between what is right and wrong. And what pulls us in further is the stunning acting by Lanipekun who delivers the blows, fright and terror as he tries to regain reality whilst fighting the darker fantasy that is taking hold. Sharea Samuels and Corrine Skinner play this excellent opposites of care as they too strain against the circumstances. One takes the matriarchal help while the other, the ex, is more forceful and has given up after suffering his mood swings. It's here where we find a heart that pulsates with hope in a dark and thought provoking short.
Ultimately, Birch delivers a heightened and realistic short film that relates to suffered and the loved ones who therefore suffer after, weaving sympathy for the man and this surrounding him.