Moving away from turning Sigmund Freud into a police specialist again, the Files focus once more upon his treatment of very difficult patients. Rather than trying to delve into the psyche of another however, he instead finds himself under investigation by the legal courts. Suspected of having raped a young woman, a client of his, he is held behind bars with seemingly no shortage of witnesses willing to testify against him.
The concept here is certainly an interesting one, and the script pushes to take advantage of certain society biases of the era. While it plays fast and loose with public laws more than once, the drama itself is conveyed extremely well throughout the story, thanks largely to the performances of an excellent cast once again. While certainly not enough to make you ignore some of the more dubious moments, the pacing and their delivery means it is easier to forgive such matters.
The actual subject matter of the case itself is remarkably well handled, all things considered. While the subject of rape is often a difficult one to approach, here it is presented as a truly horrific act and the scenes involving it can be disturbing in the best way possible. What’s more, the suggestion of the act itself has widespread impact, and the script knows full well how to focus upon the reactions of characters to this event. This is something, which should certainly be praised given the script’s liberal use of flashbacks.
However, the sad truth is that this is yet again another mystery script, which suffers from predictability. It doesn’t take long to figure out who the perpetrator is and what motive they held, after which point you’re left waiting for the protagonists to catch up to you. Furthermore, things aren’t helped by a resolution that seems all too clean, quickly tying up loose ends and concluding on an ill-fitting happy note. Despite the subject matter and overall direction, Stimulus seems oddly torn between wanting to examine the situation while playing it safe.
As a whole Stimulus is a definite step in the right direction, but still a very flawed work. It’s hardly bereft of memorable moments or sparks of great writing, but it’s not quite the spike in quality some might have wanted. Along with Father and Son, it represents the best of these four stories, and shows some promise for the future. Give it a listen if you’re interested in the subject matter, but don’t expect anything exceptional.
THE SIGMUND FREUD FILES 4 – STIMULUS / DIRECTOR: DOUGLAS WELBAT & PATRICK SIMON / AUTHOR: HEIKO MARTENS (TRANSLATED BY ARMIN PREDIGER) / STARRING: DAVID RINTOUL, CARL PREKOPP, EMMA TATE, NICOLETTE MCKENZIE, JESS ROBINSON, ASHLEY MARGOLIS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW