What is “crazy”? What is “normal”? What if the rapture hit and all that was left was a small group of people we label as “crazy”? Are they then “normal”? These are some of the questions Cullen Hoback explores in Freedom State, a 55-minute independent digital production shot in the Pacific Northwest.
One morning eight mental patients get and find that their caretaker/nurse isn’t there to hand out their daily medications. The TV isn’t working. All is quiet outside. To top it off, they find a glass eye made in, of all places, Rapture, Indiana. All the clues lead to one thought: the world has ended and they are the only ones left. They set out in a shortbus to find the end of the world and to see if any other survivors might exist.
Before setting out, the eight “survivors” divide themselves into distinct roles so that they can function as a society. Their President, Krystal (Megan Murphy), was your average housewife at one point in her life, before her husband drove her to loathing everything about her life. But once she, like the other patients, enter into mental health care, they discover that they can be the people that they want to be.
Freedom State is a playful film that calls on its audience to believe in the empowering virtues of imagination and freedom. There is a definite feeling of joy shared in the escape scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest as well as a feeling of determination found in Don Quixote.
Although Freedom State is filled with eccentrics, for the most part it doesn’t feel overly eccentric or over-the-top. It remains grounded through the simplicity in which the mission is carried out. A couple of the characters come across as a little much, but they are largely background characters in the big picture. The danger of eccentricity is that they become overdone and their roles feel more scripted than natural, even in a piece of fantasy where the script is obvious. That is the problem with these couple of characters. But the meaty roles work out just fine finding the proper balance of natural and fantastical.
The film is ruled by dialogue, some of which is heavy and some of which will just bring a light smile to your face. Freedom State is certainly a comedy, but not one in which you’ll get a belly laugh. Rather it’s one that makes you think and grin at the same time.
Freedom State Gallery
Freedom State Gallery