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Incognita (2019)

Ben (Sean Kneese) is a young adjunct ethics professor. He’s expecting his first child with his wife, Veronica (Nedra Shamberger), and he’s not quite sure how to feel about it. When one of his students, Trevor (Phil Kramer), approaches him at the end of his first day, Ben is presented with some information that will change his life forever. With life changing before his very eyes, Ben has a difficult decision to make.

Ethics is the key to Incognita. It’s Ben’s job to understand the ins and outs of ethics, but, even more importantly, Ben is expected to convey his knowledge on the subject to his many students. However, beyond the ethics that exist within each character of the story, that idea plays a role in viewers’ understanding of the film. Why do we make the decisions we do, and how do those decisions affect others? As we mull over the difficult decisions that Ben makes throughout Incognita, viewers forge connections between those decisions and the ones we make on a regular basis. This quick and efficient connection between viewer and film pulls in viewers and provides them a reason to feel connected to the content and the characters.

There is a mystery surrounding Incognita, and that’s the title itself. There doesn’t necessarily have to be a correlation between the title of the movie and the content–but I’d expect that nine out of ten times there is some connection between the two. The word “incognita” refers to someone having their true identity concealed–but only in regard to a woman. In the twelve minutes that it took me to watch Incognita and the hours I spent afterward contemplating the relationship between the name and the film, I struggled to come to any legitimate conclusion. Again, I know that the title doesn’t have to directly connect to the story itself, but I consider this a problem. I have theories about what it might mean (but I’ll save those for another time as they will spoil the film)–but I can’t be sure that I fully understand this aspect of Incognita. Constantly mulling over this issue in my head took something away from the film, as it caused me to lose focus on occasion. Sure, I’m well aware of the fact that I may be obsessing over this minute incident too much, but, hey, to each their own.

I’m greatly intrigued by the story present in Incognita. Beyond the ideas of ethics that transcend the entirety of the film, the story itself is twisted and fun. From the opening moments writers Brielle Carroll and Asha Rosemond begin hinting at the film’s climax, but they don’t give anything away until the opportune moment. In that very moment, what was already an intriguing film began to tickle my fancy even more (yea, that sounds weird, but I kind of like it anyway). I was compelled to be part of Ben’s story, and whatever decisions he was going to make, I was game.

Incognita is a testament to the human mind, the ethics of man, and the difficulties of life. All of these things are wrapped nicely into a twelve-minute package–and the fast pace keeps things moving, rather than allowing any lull to come between Incognita and success. Filmed in just three days, on a college campus, with actors who had never been in a professional film before–Incognita manages to hit the spot.

Directed by Asha Rosemond.

Written by Brielle Carroll & Asha Rosemond.

Starring Sean Kneese, Phil Kramer, Timothy J. Cox, Nedra Shamberger, etc.




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