Written and directed by Katherine O’Brien, Lost Transmissions centers on a young, performance-shy singer/songwriter named Hannah (Juno Temple) who connects with her friend, record producer Theo (Simon Pegg) over their shared love of music. He believes she is talented, and tries to build both her confidence and her professional resume by working with her. The only problem is, Theo has schizophrenia, and only sporadically stays on his medications. Hannah, who has also been medicated for most of her life for her own mental illness, is drawn to his magnetic, enigmatic personality, and starts to go down the same dangerous path. In a quest to draw on inspiration he has persuaded her is being dampened by drugs, she starts missing doses of her own meds.
This is a dark, sad tale that devolves as it goes, and is one many of us have experienced in some way, either firsthand, or through a friend with mental illness. Both Juno Temple and Simon Pegg do great work here, but it is Simon Pegg who is compelling enough to make us all watch as his character, off his meds, takes a blow torch to his life. It is revealed that this is only the last time, one of many, which is why his circle of friends is getting ever-smaller.
Also crystal clear but just as painful to watch is the way the US mental health system is set up to fail those that need it the most.
Simon Pegg comes by his authentic, riveting performance honestly. He himself has struggled with depression, which was diagnosed when he was 18. It led to alcoholism, something he has since gotten a handle on, in as much as anyone can.
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