The Speed of Thought (2011) Poster

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It's a B-flick, but an okay flick nonetheless.
thomas-lyngstad28 October 2013
This is actually a pretty decent movie. The writing is a bit weird, but the story is compelling and you really get involved with the characters after a while. This is more of a thinker, not an action-filled CGI-flick, but somehow it has its' own tension and several exciting moments. I've never been a Nick Stahl fan, but he does an okay job in this (even though he's a bit monotonous). It wouldn't've been the same without Mia Maestro though. She does great, and whatever weirdness is portrayed is only due to the script. Good flick.

The concept could've been way more evolved, and with a super-budget and a different lead role, it could've been a blockbuster. The editing is at times awkward, and some scenes feel unfinished, but the main story is kinda cool. It leaves you with a weird feeling, mostly in a good way. If you've got nothing better to watch, and enjoy some semi-mindplay by mediocre actors (except Mia), it's worth a shot.
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I know exactly what you're thinking...literally
TheHrunting5 July 2011
In the wake of the ultra budget blockbuster super-hero flicks, "The Speed of Thought" enters as a small link on the chain in the people-with-special-abilities genre. There are going to be less camera setups, bombastic-less music, no flashy costumes but instead more story and dialogue to concentrate on.

A telepath named Joshua Lazarus (Nick Stahl), who works covertly for the NSA branch of the government, has a degenerative disease as a result of his ability. He's told no one survives past 28 yet the pills he's given will stale the inevitable. He's got nothing to lose if there's no future ahead of him, so he hangs loose with drinking, gambling, call girls and awaits madness to take hold, as the voices that were once controllable start to pile up. A light at the end of the tunnel appears and he gains some hope on one of his last missions in Uruguay when he meets an attractive woman named Anna (Mia Maestro) who also has the mind-reading ability known as "scoping."

Joshua has a mentor named Sandy (Wallace Shawn) who runs "The Home" in which special people of his kind are kept for training and treatment. Sandy eases the pressure of withering away with sympathetic talks as he's dealt with many in the same situation. His slightly older friend Kira (Taryn Manning) starts to show symptoms before himself, yet at the same time she oddly starts to gain some new abilities. With Anna, Joshua finds a true connection when they mind meld memories together. Instead of showing shots of the characters' faces in person and a voice over top, this switches to an isolated area that has them dreamily talking to each other face-to face in what looks like they're physically standing there.

This is as much of a slow moving drama as it's a love-at-first-telepathic-reading type of movie in the vicinity of "Hereafter" though without being exactly the same. Joshua and Anna form a forbidden connection as she's a natural who could never share her secret and he swore secrecy to the people he works for who keep a very close eye on him. They become personal in their heads but yearn for that physical touch. Together they make an attempt to get away from it all to be together no matter where that is but are sucked back into it when the company gets hot on their tail and some revelations are unveiled about who's really who and what it all means.

"The Speed of Thought" is a simple movie to escape with as you get the special abilities side that comes with its own set of rules and there is also some romance to make it more personable. If they shaved off some time it would have made a decent enough hour long TV pilot to get engaged in. But as is, the dialogue frequently overemphasizes to nail the point home and it causes the flow to get stuck in a lower gear and become somewhat tedious. Blair Brown, who plays the boss, feels tight casted from Fringe. There's some chemistry among the characters though it doesn't always leave much to read between the lines for what they're feeling or how it works. Usually filmmakers find a balance in the middle of stating the obvious and being too vague yet this continually steps over the line towards the former. Confusion--nope. Subtlety--what's that? Nearly every thought and movement is laid out in plain view, which sucks out the passion and challenge after awhile when it started out on a higher note. For a film about the mind, the dialogue doesn't always leave much to the imagination and drags down some of the rest of the film with oversimplification. (Also submitted on Cinema Freaks,
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How did THAT part of the script not get fixed?
MBunge4 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Must…resist…obvious joke…about how at least…this is not…the worst thing ever created…by an Oppenheimer! Yeah, whenever a movie makes you wonder if the residents of 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki really had it all that bad, you know you've found a truly stinky chunk of cinema. When the special effects in a 2011 film look like they were produced with the green screen technology of a late 1970s episode of The Electric Company and that's STILL not the worst thing about it, you know you've found a motion picture you have to warn people about. Terrible. Awful. Atrocious. Even those words fail to describe The Speed of Thought. You've got to reach down for terms like hapless and pathetic and sad. I mean, Wallace Shawn is in this thing. Wallace Shawn! There should be a law that if you're ever in something as good as The Princess Bride, you're not allowed to be in anything as bad as this. We should be handing out government stipends or something to prevent it.

Joshua Lazarus (Nick Stahl) is a young man with…okay, let's start right here. Lazarus? Seriously? You could forgive something like that if this was a story about reincarnation or near death experiences, but this is about telepathy. You could overlook it if this was an action flick starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, but this is a sci-fi drama. Joshua LAZARUS? That's like a 12 year old boy naming the main character in his story Nick Steele or Rock Hardman. If you can't avoid the painfully low rent cliché of giving your characters names that sound "cool", don't even bother with the whole writing gig.

Anyway, Joshua Lazarus is a young man with the ability to read minds. Called a "scoper" by his government handlers and Sandy (Wallace Shawn), the Professor Xish guy who's gathered Lazarus and other young telepaths to try and help them with their abilities, Lazarus uses his talents for spying and more exotic assignments. His latest one is to beat a Uruguayan dude at poker until he's bankrupt as punishment for defying U.S. demands. When he's not doing that, Lazarus spends his time drinking and whoring because he just turned 28 and "scopers" never live past 29 without going insane. It turns out, though, the Uruguayan dude's daughter (Mia Maestro) is also a secret "scoper". She's also 31 and in fine mental health. With his world turned upside down, Lazarus tries to escape his NSA masters with the help of another telepath (Taryn Manning) and his Jewish, mobster, Holocaust survivor of a father whom he hasn't seen in 20 years. Yeah, that's right. Jewish, mobster, Holocaust survivor of a father whom he hasn't seen in 20 years. I'm surprised writer/director/dolt Evan Oppenheimer didn't make the dad transgendered while he was at it.

Anyway, Lazarus is recaptured and discovers the true extent of the lies which have dominated his whole life. And we get to see a chick's bare ass at the beginning of the movie. That's pretty much everything.

I figured out The Speed of Thought was going to suck early on and when it got to the pitiful green screen effects, I expected that to be the low point of the production. They would have looked bad back in the 1980s on some syndicated sci-fi show. 20some years later, they're less special effects and more a cry for help. "Stop me before I CGI again!" I will grant that expectations have been raised to ridiculous heights and any effect now that doesn't look 100% real and natural sticks out like a sore thumb. However, The Speed of Thought takes that sore thumb and sticks it right in the viewer's eye. High school film projects have been special effects than this.

I thought the effects were going to be the worst this film had to offer. My mistake, and I know what you're thinking. Was the worst the whole "Jewish, mobster, Holocaust survivor whom he hadn't seen in 20 years" thing? Nope. The true nadir was one of those things where you literally cannot understand how anyone could have come up with something so stupid. Imagine you're 28 and you have a condition where everyone who's ever had it has gone insane by 29. Then to meet someone with the condition who's older than 29 and not insane. Wouldn't finding out how that's possible instantly become the all consuming passion of your life so you can save yourself and everyone else with the condition? That's certainly how I'd react. Joshua Lazarus reacts like the Uruguayan dude's daughter told him she was a Presbyterian. He doesn't do anything with the information. They don't even discuss it. It's just a plot point that gets filed away until it needs to be brought back later in the movie. Overall, the script for The Speed of Thought is bad but not grotesquely so. However, Lazarus' indifference to the whole "not going insane at 29" revelation is one of the worst bits of writing I've ever encountered in any genre or medium. Every single person who read this screenplay should have noticed such a gargantuan flaw. That it remains in the final product defies explanation.

I'm sure Oppenheimer started his work with the best of intentions. The end result is still a bomb. Damn! I almost made it.

Needless to say, don't watch this movie.
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Better than reviews so far - Mia M is a knockout!
shivajimji21 July 2012
Previous reviewers panned this story. I enjoyed it. I thought the leads did a good job, especially Mia M. I thought she was a knockout for her interesting role as the hombre who breaks up the psychic cartel of the NSA. I also like the idea of someone breaking ups the NSA too, if you know what I mean. The script isn't that bad, as you can see from the "did you know" quotes at this site. Budget? I thought it's low key accentuated the interpersonal. It is essentially a romantic movie. It is interesting that most of the romantic action occurred in the head rather than between naked bodies, although that might have been nice too. Yah, maybe it will be big budget someday with Keneau R., but science fiction is all about suspending your doubts and playing along. For me, I enjoyed playing along. I thought the end was a nice surprise also. It was worth the time on Netflix free play.
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It's about time
westerfield13 January 2012
Once in a great while a science fiction film will make you think. Bladerunner wasone. But they spent millions making it. Speed of Thought does it on asmall budget. There's little action but lots of talking. Many reviewers down grade it for that. However, I rate it along side another great all-talk film, Creation of the Humanoids. It gets the same poor reviews by some but many rate it 8-10 stars. Forget running gun battles. Listen to the philosophy. Examine the wonderful plot. Think of the implications. Think.

The leads are adequate but veterans Blair Brown and Wallace Shawn ground the film in reality. The way the telepathy is imagined on film is the best concept I've seen. This is how you make a good film on a small budget.
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These are not the telepaths that you're looking for
movieman_kev22 July 2012
Telepathic Josh (Nick Stahl) falls in love with fellow telepath Anna. But he's acutely aware that he may very well die at any moment or so his government liaison, Sandy (the Princess Brides' Wallace Shawn) A 'truth' he begins to question after he finds another 'scoper' older than him.

This is a drawn-out, boring little sci-fi dud of a film. Part of the problem stems from its predictability and the phoned-in acting style of most of the main characters doesn't help matters. Im not normally one for hyperbole but this is quite possibly Nick Stahl's worst film. And keep in mind, I've sat through Mirrors 2
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Great Concept, no script, or budget.
jvirgin-254-5047721 January 2012
Great concept, long tedious scenes, could have been a good 1 hour television show. A lot of time is devoted to actors walking about, with tortured expressions. The location shooting in Uruguay seems to be totally irrelevant to the story, they should have saved that budget, for better writing. While on the plus side it does feature a pretty girl, most of the characters are flat, the bad guys are not intimidating, in fact most of them just look constipated. The special effects, look like they were done on my laptop. I am sure the actors were disappointed with the end result, and that Wallace Shawn probably thought it was "Inconceivable" that it would turn out to be such a stinker. You will want the 2 hours of your life back, by the time it is over.
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One for the thinkers
almapascoe19 June 2011
Imagine Charles Xavier from X-Men with the evil streak of Magneto. Put this person into a home for special children and have him train children to be government spies and you have the right ingredients for what will eventually become the mind's resolve to right a terrible injustice. Special abilities meet government mishandling and it's only when the hero meets and falls for the woman of his dreams that he is able to bring the pain and needless killing of the innocents to an end. So is it possible there are gifted individuals out there with the ability to read our minds? The naysayers will call it a trumped up wishy-washy idea at best, but heaven help us all if it were so and the government gets control of them. An excellent movie if you're into a little bit of fantasy/science fiction...assuming of course that it is...
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The art of wind-swift thought.
rmax30482320 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I can't really recommend this, or not recommend it, because I only managed to catch about half an hour of it in the middle, so I'm not assigning it a rating, but since it's garnered so few reviews, a couple of observations might help.

First, anybody looking for the expectable flashy special f/x and instant editing ought to look elsewhere. The director and editor take their time in laying out and exploring each scene. The camera does not wobble spastically. Sometimes this lends the film a torpid tinge but I welcome it. Deliberation is almost a lost art. I'd rather be bored than wind up with a headache.

Second, the acting is above average without being bravura. I'm thinking of the principles, Nick Stahl, Taryn Manning, Wallace Shawn, and Mia Maestro. Stahl looks a little like a dish-faced Tom Hanks with darker eyelashes and he's convincing without appearing to put much effort into being so.

It's difficult to evaluate Mia Maestro's performance because her appearance is so flawless and her voice so hypnotically precise. She and Stahl fall for one another rather too rapidly, especially given the leisurely nature of some of their scenes together. It might have helped if she'd been allowed to be more innocently seductive. Maybe if she took her clothes off or something.

Those who might enjoy this most probably ought to have a good deal of patience and a bit of magical thinking.
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Great concept squandered away
Arnror_II16 April 2013
Awful casting. When are directors gonna realize that Nick Stahl is not leading man material. I'm sorry if you ever read this nick, but your face looks like you are a very pale, sick, and overgrown little boy. A very wise woman said to me that "If you do not like the book after twenty pages, don't read it". In movies it is even easier, as you'll almost immediately feel that you are in skilled hands, or not. Don't waste your time on this less than adequate experiment, where everything except the idea, is a bad one. And another thing. You do not need ten lines. To warn other friendly humans. To stay away. We should just be able to write: Warning, Nick in leading role! Warning, looks like a dream sequence from an 80's movie. Warning, a writer who takes him/herself and life, way to seriously.
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A new Ed Wood from our times....
ferreiragon24 November 2011
I have followed this writer and director and he reminded me of Ed Wood. Quite creative and almost ridiculous plots mixed up with a director's cut where things can change magically with distorted almost funny and confusing logic (if there is any). So, if you watch this movie and also the other ones from the same writer/director you will find things that are quite funny if you take these movies as made by a contemporary Ed Wood. The funny thing as it happened with Ed Wood, is that they are done with the intention of doing art cinema though the result is absurd and makes you laugh. Doing this in a delicate balance with no intention of being funny having the opposite result is not for anyone...that is why I give it an 8!!
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Homemade sci fi
Leofwine_draca3 September 2016
SCOPERS is a little independent production about a guy either blessed or cursed - depending on which way you look at it - with telepathic ability, a gift which leads to him working for the US government on various national defence missions. However, tiring of his ability, he utilises the aid of a friend to try to find a 'cure' for his condition.

I watched this film on the strength of the all-action cover, which described the movie as "Inception meets X-Men". That's a lie if ever I saw one and anyone who believes such a thing should ask for their money back. Because this is a no budget film which mainly consists of a couple of characters talking in a room and the occasional green screen effects which are very poor. SCOPERS managed to bring in a couple of semi-famous actors in the form of Nick Stahl and Taryn Manning but neither of them make much of an effort and who can blame them? This film's a real bore with a plot line that goes nowhere.
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