Mental [1]
Mental poster - Copy
Directed by Merlin Merton
Produced by Merlin Merton
Written by Merlin Merton
Starring Will Hillgarth,
David Wall,
Ben Cathcart,
Peter Broad,
Jane Rees,
Angus Graham-Campbell,
Marco Liviero,
Kiki Bagger,
Amelia Bennett,
Roddy Fisher,
Craig Lovell
Music by Alastair Lloyd Webber
Cinematography Merlin Merton
Editing by Merlin Merton
Release date(s) 2009 in HD
Running time 74 mins
Country Template:UK
Language English
Budget est. £200

Mental is a 2009 drama-experimental film. Produced on a low budget, it is Merlin Merton's second feature length film directing and writing debut. The film features William Hillgarth (as Jacob Grey) as well as Peter Broad, David Wall, Ben Cathcart, Angus Graham-Campbell, Kiki Bagger, Jane Rees, Marco Liviero, Amelia Bennett, Craig Lovell, and Roddy Fisher. The plot sees Jacob Grey, student at a fictional prestiguous British public school, and his gradual psychological disintegration.

Premiering at Eton College, the film received positive reactions being described as presenting 'a very credible sense of anticlimax by ironing out our cosy quirkiness'.[2]

Synopsis Edit

The film begins with a satirical documentary presenting the ideal public school. Jacob Grey (Will Hillgarth) leads the standard student life, he works hard and keeps out of trouble. He has tea with his controlling parents Geoffrey (Peter Broad) and Mary (Jane Rees). They assert the importance of learning and its relevance in future life over friendship. This later becomes a major theme.

His two best friends Alex (David Wall) and Henry (Ben Cathcart) differ and somehow persuade Jacob to go out that very night. The three go to a local place, meeting up with Jacob's girlfriend Jane (Kiki Bagger) and her her friend Rachel (Amelia Bennett). A night to remember, but what ensues becomes a nightmare.

Awaking their housemaster (Marco Liviero), Jacob is nevertheless bitter that this will be refered to his parents. Furthermore, the three friends are sent to the headmaster (Angus Graham Campbell). This proves too much for Jacob Grey who immediately loses his temper and storms out. He proceeds to run away, stopping off several times. After a lot of persuading and shouting from everyone he eventually returns. By this stage his parents have been called and come specially to the school.

What culminates is an unfortunate series of events which lead to a break-up with his girlfriend, and a fight with his best friend. It seems that despite his best efforts, Jacob is unable to reconcile with his main issue. His parents. It is thus inevitable that Jacob's mental breakdown lead to his expulsion. He leaves the school alone, unseen by friends or anyone else, the sun shinning ironically.

Cast Edit

William Hillgarth, Jacob Grey
Peter Broad, Geoffrey Grey
Jane Rees, Mary Grey
David Wall, Alex Graham
Ben Cathcart, Henry Darce

Angus Graham-Campbell, Headmaster
Kiki Bagger, Jane
Marco Liviero, Mr. Hall
Amelia Bennett, Rachel
Craig Lovell, John Dunn
Roddy Fisher, Mr. Bradley

Production Edit

Created by Merlin Merton films[3]. The film was shot in and around Eton College, whilst Merlin Merton studied there, Windsor and Slough. Mental was shot during every spare moment after lessons but mostly during weekends, at a total cost of around £200. Due to its ultra low budget, location filming was heavily dependent on persuasion. According to one source [4] rumour has it that the cast pretended they were a filming crew from France when they were once caught without tickets on a train.

Production commenced after AS exams in Summer 2008, and was put on hold during the Summer holidays. Principle shooting continued well into October with the odd gaps here and there. The cast consisted primarily of Merlin Merton's friends and teachers. He even cast his own tutor (Marco Liviero) and housemaster (Marcus Polglase). According to Merlin Merton the greatest difficulty was scheduling everyone around their own commitments.[5] Nevertheless he admits that everyone was very supportive and that his biology teacher, Roddy Fisher deserved a lot of credit for his technical support. He had a small role too. Merlin Merton used his friend Praj Xuto as a boom boy. However, he did not have sufficient crew to ensure proper lighting. In fact a lot of the lighting effects were left to post-production.

Editing continued well into May, whilst extra scenes were filmed right upto the week it was due to be released. The low sound quality caused many problems as did adding music. Merlin Merton recruited Alastair Lloyd Webber to produce a basic score. This proved a great success.

The film was originally slated to be 90 minutes but was severely cut down to 74 minutes.

Reception Edit

Hype was created throughout the year with trailers,[6][7] and a date was finally decided. The film was premiered at the Farrer Theatre, Eton College on 15th May 2009. The film met with a lot of anticipation for being a feature film made by boys at the school itself. There was apparently many problems due to fake tickets that were produced. Nevertheless the film proved successful and met with a standing ovation.

Mental has been criticised for its 'simple mileage' and its[8] 'tendency towards overemphasis'. Others, however, applaud it as a great achievement for a student film with essentially little financial backing.

External links Edit

  1. official Mental website
  2. Ben-San Lau applauds Merlin Merton's film, Chronicle June 2009
  3. Merlin Merton films
  4. Jack Staker interview Merlin Merton and Will Hillgarth on the newest mentality, The Chronicle October 08
  5. Jack Staker interview Merlin Merton and Will Hillgarth on the newest mentality, The Chronicle October 08
  6. First Mental trailer
  7. Second Mental trailer
  8. Ben-San Lau applauds Merlin Merton's film, Chronicle June 2009

[2] [3]

[4] [5] [6]

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