The Idea Thief: an existentialist farce? A commentary on unrequited love? Or a writer's ode to the precious, fleeting nature of "a good idea?" All of the above.
Jon Skocik's sophomore effort sets itself up quickly, introducing the main character Joe (Joel Dickerson of Soda Can Love), a writer who finds himself at the mercy of a universe in which all of his best ideas are supplanted, commandeered and quickly published by the mysterious writer Dean King.
Joe's co-worker and gal-pal Wendy, sympathetically played by Catherine Schulz is doing her best to keep Joe sane, but Wendy has her hands full, having just been dumped by her girlfriend. Unfortunately Joe sees this all as less the tragedy and more the opportunity – conveniently ignoring the fact that she is gay.
Stormy, the stalwart friend, – played by the colorful Tom Figel – does his best to guide Joe through reality as he sees it. But despite all of his best intentions, Stormy's are the machinations of a man who has his feet firmly planted in the dreariness of a very literal workaday reality, never really seeming to grasp the ethereal nature of Joe's troubled world of words. Doesn't stop him from getting them into hot water, though.
The other artist in the film, Pharaoh (Aki Jamal Durham), is sympathetic but completely engrossed in making his zombie film, an endeavor that parallels Joe's own struggle to have his art realized. Fittingly it is through a grant from Joe, desperate to see any creative effort brought to fruition, that Pharaoh is able to complete his film.
Through all of this, Joe struggles to discover how his ideas are seemingly stolen right out of his head. The Idea Thief lightheartedly examines the nature of self doubt, the exploration of unrequited love, metaphysical thievery, and the contemplation of the unique, personal nature of a single idea, even if it is a universal one.
Strong personalities and great themes competently intertwine here, yielding real, thought-provoking characters and the occasional belly laugh. The Idea Thief delivers the message that, often enough, when one stops doggedly trying to discover the "how," he is freed to understand the often more meaningful "why." Check it out – it is well worth your time.
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