Mystery, thriller, horror
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Like Minds (2007)
6th Apr 08
Seventeen-year-old private school boy Alex Forbes (Eddie Redmayne) is one of those cocky little gits that likes the show up the teacher with his smart-arse comments and generally do his best to be surly and unruly at all times.
Alex has been accused of killing his classmate Nigel Colby (Tom Sturridge) with a shotgun, an accusation he vehemently (check that context is correct) denies. Toni Collette plays forensic psychologist Sally Rowe, who is brought in to interview Alex and determined whether or not the lad did indeed carry out the evil deed.
Review Like Minds is a bit of a muddle, a movie desperately in need of an identity. Sold on the promise of it being a Toni Collette starring vehicle it is anything but. Collette does star in it, but her appearances are fleeting with the movie really resting on the shoulders of youngster Eddie Redmayne. The opening moments lend the impression that the movie will play out with a Clarice / Hannibal dynamic in The Silence of the Lambs as Redmayne's character verbally spars with Collette's Sally Rowe, doing his best to get under her skin.
Despite a promising first-half the film squanders its potential and becomes unfocused and a little rushed. The resulting feature is no different to one of those run-of-the-mill Sunday night dramas that your mum and dad used to watch on TV. It's well made but hardly raises the pulse and the outcome is obvious pretty much from the start, something you wouldn't expect from a psychological thriller sold on such this pedigree.
Known as Murderous Intent for its US DVD release, the movie is the feature film debut of its writer / director Gregory J. Read, following 1996's documentary Spirits of the Carnival. Unfortunately, Like Minds appears unable to settle on where it is set. Itís quite natural for a movieís shoot to take it to a number of locations. With its casting of Richard Roxburg and Toni Collette one is kind of geared to thinking it could be based in Australia, even more so with the director being from Down Under too. The establishing shot of Alex Forbes hanging out of a train also lends itself to being Aussie-based so it comes as a shock to find it is actually all meant to be set in the North of England. There is no sense of location so the viewer does not feel grounded making the viewing experience all the more muddled.
The all-important spark between Alex Forbes and Nigel Colby is non-existent, you never really get that they connect. The fault lies partly in the storyís telling and also with the hopelessly miscast Tom Sturridge's as new boy Nigel Colby. Rather than convince as a naughty lad with a penchant for dissecting dead animals in his dormitory room, Sturridge's Colby spends his time looking gorgeous and pouting like he'd rather be at a photo shoot than making this movie.
On the plus side Redmayne makes his potentially dislikeable character, a snotty know-it-all, an easy one to warm to. Before Like Minds, Redmayne had only minor television roles on his C.V. He explodes onto the screen here, in his cinematic debut, elevating an otherwise lacklustre thriller to something worth watching for whenever he is on screen. He has since gone on to play small roles in the larger scale The Good Shepherd and Elizabeth - The Golden Age and on the basis of his superb performance here, Redmayne is very much a face to watch.
Collette, as ever, is excellent, itís just a shame that her role wasnít more considerable. One could only hope that had she been more involved that she would have had the good mind to point out the filmís shortcomings to the director whose grasp of the material is limp at best. Like Minds is left to meander with potentially interesting subtexts about Gestalt psychology and secret societies floundering under Readís leaden direction.
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