Sasha Ramos as: Mimi
Erin Cline as: Tabitha
Emily Rogers as: Kylene
Anthony Rutowicz as: Harris
Joe Coffey as: Dutch
Mimi (the lovely Sasha Ramos) is having a sex with a much older, over-weight, and married man named Marc (John Lucas). She makes it very, and brutally clearly, to him that she is not enjoying it at all. He leaves feeling like crap, of course. Later, she is talking to her best friend, the very sexy Tabitha (Erin Cline). Both are clearly raunchy and fun loving girls. In comes Mimi’s cute, younger sister, Kylene (Emily Rogers), all three of them are looking forward to having a little get together tonight, since Mimi and Kylene’s parents are away.
That night, Tabitha’s boyfriend Sean (Chris Greene) and his friend Dutch (Joe Coffey) come over. Sean has bought Dutch with him so he can meet and, hopefully, hook up with Mimi. Dutch seems a little bit unsure of it all, at first, but quickly decides that it’s a good idea. Also, joining the fun is Kylene’s boyfriend Harris (Anthony Rutowicz) who is bought over by his overtly religious and overprotective Christian mother, Thelma (Catherine Trail). Soon, all six of them have sexy fun, get drunk, and jump and mess around the pool. Suddenly, Marc pays them a visit and blows his brains out. From here on in, things just go from bad to progressively worse.
Quite a Conundrum is an amazing directorial debut by Thomas Phillips, who if this is any indication of what his future movies will be like, has a very bright one ahead of him in film. Sure it is very much an indie film, but I mean that in the best possible manner. With this being a low-budget film the emphasis of it centers on much more profound aspects such as the magnificent script. This also allows it the freedom to do whatever it wants to, including it being admittedly gross, raunchy, and hilarious probably more so than if it had been done by some major studio. It even gives us full frontal male nudity, which in this case definitely falls under the gross department.
The whole cast is just phenomenal. They all give deep, multifaceted, and multilayered performances. Their characters have been excellently written by Phillips; They are fully fleshed out and have a lot of depth to them, as well as being believable. It’s interesting to take, for example, our two lovely, lead characters in the form of Mimi and Tabitha. When we first meet them it seems as we are going to hate them and think that there just two superficial bitches. But, as the film progresses in its plot, we begin to empathize with them and actually discover that they are quite likable.
It’s the fact that we do end up caring for the characters, and that becomes one of the driving aspects of what makes the movie work so well. Our three lead females are quite gorgeous and provide us with some very pleasant eye candy as well. Even if they never actually give us full nudity, just little hints of it, there’s still sufficient amount of sexiness to keep one happy and visually engaged. Their male counterparts also give us great performances. Their characters are also quite in-depth and just as complex. It’s great to see how these characters grow, change, and deal in their own ways with what is happening around them.
The dialogue in Quite a Conundrum is just pitch perfect. It’s quirky and fresh without ever really coming off as too annoying or too smartass for its own good. In the lighter part of the film, it is really fun and at times quite hilarious. But, as the film goes on and heads into a darker and darker place it adds to the intensity of it. In other words, the dialogue always compliments the mood that the film is trying to achieve, and it does so perfectly.
Under lesser hands the tonal shift that this film goes through may not have worked anywhere near as well. Thankfully, Phillips perfectly handles the evolving feel that movie has. As it begins you think to yourself that this is definitely just some fun little indie comedy with a side of Porky’s throw-in for good measure. But, after the suicide, it gets more and more intense. In fact, I decided have to not tell anything that occurs after that event, because the less you know about this movie, the better that it works. The last 20 minutes or so take a very dark turn and enter an almost disturbing feel. It all leads to an emotionally shattering and ultimately moving ending.
Quite a Conundrum is a real testament to the natural talent of Phillips that he is able to convey this so well both in his script and spot on directing. He complements the overall cinematography with his own incredibly intense editing style as he cuts from one thing occurring to the next or sometimes simultaneous things that are going on. The technique keeps the audience on their toes and eyes glued to the screen. Even the ways the characters are introduced is nothing short of ingenious.
Quite a Conundrum represents the very best of indie filmmaking. This is a dark comedy with horrific elements done and handled in the very best, possible manner. This is not the goriest film, but it doesn’t need to be. The shock power lies in the great story and the way that it is handled on screen. When this film hits DVD on January 2014 I highly recommend you seek it out and watch it. I firmly believe you will not be disappointed by it, and you, like me, will find it to be a pleasant discovery. In the meantime, I anxiously wait to see what Phillips will do as his next film.