Like Minds Review
Forensic psychologist Sally Rowe (Toni Collette) is called in to interview seventeen-year-old Alex Forbes (Eddie Redmayne), accused of shooting his public school roommate Nigel Colby (Tom Sturridge). Alex claims that Nigel is the guilty party, staging his own suicide to look like murder. As Sally continues to investigate, she learns about the two boys’ mutual interest in medieval cults and Nigel’s obsession with dissecting dead animals, and the deaths of two other pupils close to them…
Like Minds (released in the USA as Murderous Intent) is a twisty-turny thriller that doesn’t really hold water, but does hold your attention while it’s on with a plot that is a stew of Da Vinci Code-style Medieval conspiracies and gestalt psychology and some fairly standard psycho-thriller genre conventions. The film is an Australian/British coproduction, though set in the North of England. Apart from the school scenes, which were shot in the UK, much of the film was shot in Australia, with an Australian director and two Australian actors (Toni Collette and Richard Roxburgh) amidst the largely British cast. Unfortunately the film’s sense of place is as lacking as that would lead you to expect, with Read’s screenplay the major culprit. Far too often, characters speak in ways that simply don’t hold true for the time and place where the film isn’t set, and sometimes sound like bad imitations of American movie-speak. Although Toni Collette and Richard Roxburgh try their considerable best, you simply don’t believe that they come from anywhere local to the rest of the characters. Notice that no-one in the film speaks with any kind of Northern accent.
The two lead performances are variable. Eddie Redmayne sometimes overacts, but in comparison Tom Sturridge is pin-up cute but gives a blank performance which isn’t up to portraying the sociopath he’s meant to be. (Sturridge is a third-generation actor: his parents are the director and former actor Charles and Phoebe Nicholls, his grandparents the late Anthony Nicholls and the still-active Faith Kent.) On the plus side, Read does put together some passably tense sequences, and Nigel Bluck’s camerawork gives the film an appropriately cold look.
Like Minds is diverting enough for the hour and three quarters it takes to watch. However, if you have seen similar thrillers to this, the ending won’t come as much of a surprise.
Like Minds is presented on a dual-layered PAL disc encoded for Region 2 only.
The film is presented in a ratio of 1.85:1, anamorphically enhanced. However, this is not the original aspect ratio. Like Minds was shot in Super 35 and shown in cinemas in Scope (2.35:1), which can be demonstrated by the making-of and deleted scenes elsewhere on this DVD. Looking at the extracts there, it would seem that Like Minds was shot with a “common topline”, in other words the top of the frame is the same in all versions, with extra picture height being added or subtracted at the bottom of the frame. This isn’t the first Super 35 film to be opened up for DVD viewing. I would have preferred the original aspect ratio, but you aren’t losing any image in this version. As this is a brand new film, you wouldn’t expect any problems with the transfer itself, and I noticed none: it’s sharp and faithful to the intended muted colour scheme.
The soundtrack is mixed into Dolby Digital 5.1.This is quite an immersive track, making good use of directional sound, particularly noticeable in the train sequences. The subwoofer fills in where needed, such as in some low notes in the score (Low C played on double basses with extenders, for any musicians out there).
The main extra is a commentary with director Read and composer Carlo Giacco. Read dominates this track, clearly very enthusiastic about his own film. Giacco is effectively reduced to the status of feed, though he does contribute some titbits about his music score, such as the one I’ve referred to above.
Much of the information in the commentary also appears in the making-of featurette (21:26), again with Read dominating, though Richard Roxburgh begins and ends it. This is standard stuff, going through the production process in named sections. Also on the disc are two deleted/extended scenes; “Imagination” (1:34) and “Sally and Dt. McKenzie” (2:15). The disc opens with trailers for other Lionsgate releases: Deliver Us From Evil, The Lives of Others, Wah-Wah and 12 and Holding. Fortunately, you can skip these, but there is no trailer for Like Minds itself.