Review – Contemplations: On the Psychedelic Experience directed by Julian Palmer

Contemplations: On the Psychedelic Experience is a 2022 feature length documentary written and directed by Julian Palmer.

Contemplations: On the Psychedelic Experience is a 2022 feature length documentary written and directed by Julian Palmer. The documentary dives deep into how psychedelics are gradually becoming part of the mainstream in Australia and how individuals from all walks of life are finding their lives changed for the better through these substances.

Combining face to face interviews with CGI, animation and real life nature imagery, the documentary is an interesting beast. Masses around the world have been wary of psychedelics for quite some time but recently, the narrative is gradually shifting as these substances have been found to be extremely beneficial for a lot of conditions such as PTSD and trauma. With public opinion well under transformation, Palmer’s documentary comes at just the right time to get the conversation rolling. Psychedelics are here to stay and Palmer’s feature shows just how important they have been in changing lives across the globe.

The best thing about the documentary is how earnest it is. Palmer manages to focus on a large and diverse group of people, from all walks of life, who found their lives improved massively as a result of these substances. Contrary to popular opinion, the people focused on here are not stoners and deadbeats. Rather, they represent the pinnacle in their respective careers; from computer engineers to medical professionals, it seems everyone can improve themselves using psychedelics. Finding spiritual connections to their souls, the various individuals focused here feel visibly stress free and in touch with themselves. The documentary is so effective that it will convince even the most ardent of critics to take another look at how these substances are changing lives for the better.

Psychedelics have always been about leaving the material weight behind and embracing the spiritual. Upon taking psychedelics, people have reported losing their egos, their day to day stresses and severing connections to all of their possessions that have essentially owned their lives uptill now. The documentary makes an effective case for this as person after person explains how his or her life is now a lot more grounded and carefree than it used to be. Palmer knows what to highlight and in making sure the audience knows what the specific benefits of these substances are, he is effectively convincing the masses to take the leap.

Julian Palmer, the director, approaches and structures the documentary in a way that even those who have been on the line about psychedelics for now, will not be turned away. The narrative pacing is perfect and this is important for a documentary that is almost two hours long. Palmer makes the subject interesting, ensuring that the audience is hooked from the start. The deep voice over in the beginning sets the tone for the rest of the feature and as user after user shares his and her life changing experience, one cannot help but find his point of view changed.

Any feature dealing with psychedelics should be a visual delight and Contemplations manages to hit a home run in this regard. The film features a barrage of insane visual candy that accurately depicts both the highs and the journey of an individual taking these recreational drugs. It is often said such a trip is unlike any other, assaulting the senses of the user in a way that few things manage to do so. Some people have reported to have an out of body experience whilst others have found themselves in a kaleidoscopic wormhole that goes eternally deeper. Contemplations manages to visualise all of these experiences and more and the insane visual candy depicted is perfectly complemented by a soundtrack that deepens these visuals.

This audio visual assault on the senses is extremely effective and the audience find themselves sucked into a psychedelic experience of their own as the feature progresses. From all perspectives, Contemplations is a home run. Julian Palmer’s documentary is insightful, fascinating and a sight to behold. From its heavy voice over to its fantastic visuals, Contemplations is an accomplishment that needs to be seen. The film is philosophical, metaphoric and hopeful all rolled into one and soars way beyond we expected it to. It will convince the naysayers to take notice of this new avenue in human exploration whilst providing the masses the push they need in order to experiment with these substances for the very first time.


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