Altered Minds

          by Bobby Blakey

There are movies that come along that appear to be focusing on one thing, but once you invest the time in them end up being something else. The latest Altered Minds looks like just another throw away thriller, but with a decent cast including Judd Hirsch, Ryan O’Nan, C.S. Lee, and Jaime Lee Newman could it offer up that something special to help it stand out or will it just be a another memory not worth remembering?

Altered Minds follows 75 year-old Dr. Nathaniel Shellner's who led an extraordinary life as a psychiatrist working with traumatized patients fleeing war zones, earning himself a Nobel Prize for his work. After having one child with his wife, the Shellners elected to adopt the remainder of their family from the camps where Dr. Shellner worked. Ultimately they incorporated five children from all over the world into their family. As Dr. Shellner lies on his death bed on a frigid, icy day on the fringes of New York City in suburban New Jersey, the family convenes at the house where the couple raised the children for a final, bittersweet farewell to a sensational and inspiring public figure. This is one of those films that moves at a pretty slow pace for the majority of the film, but manages to tell a pretty compelling story. Everyone here does a decent job, but it is Judd Hirsch who really shines giving one of the best performances of his career. It’s very subtle and purposeful filled with a wide range of emotion with some sinister undertones throughout. As the story here unfolds you are led down numerous paths to the truth that will keep you guessing until the very end. There are some elements that felt a bit dragged out and forced, but thankfully it finds itself back on its proper path to make for a satisfying ending.

There isn’t anything here that is all that new, but the interesting story, twists and performances makes it one of those rare straight to home entertainment DVD releases worth checking out. Decide for yourself and step into this dysfunctional families hidden secrets with Altered Minds available on DVD now from Entertainment One.

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