A Filmmaker's Review: "Like Minds" (2006)
5/5 - A massively underrated cult thriller
A highly underrated cult thriller, "Like Minds" (2006) is mostly based on and depends on the understanding of various Christian/Anti-Vatican historical legends and facts in order to make sense of the film. Thankfully, if you're over 12 you've probably heard of them at least and the rest of it is explained in the film. I've probably watched this film some five or six times and the first time was just recently after it came out and it really creeped out the then, eleven year old me. It was a DVD release and was about a year after the release of the film. It's pretty gory and there's a bit to stomach but mostly it's a thriller and a very psychological one at that, so let's investigate what made this film so damn good.
The film is constructed through a series of flashbacks when people are talking to a person named Alex about various deaths that happened around him concerning the students who go to the same or nearby schools. Then it goes back to the various events and how they played out, showing us only enough to keep us involved but not enough to get us to see everything. There were many things in the film that point to various other points in the movie - evidence, fingerprinting and this very strange prospect that one is puppeteering another. It is only in the final act do we see the true nature of the entire film and how the whole thing has played out in a certain character's favour over another's.
There are various moments when we, as an audience, believe Alex is guilty and there are implications that this situations is mostly all in his head and he's the one who killed those people. Since his is the only perspective narration we get, it is difficult to think otherwise from that interview room. The various pieces of evidence that are there and not there are shown and not shown at various times to keep the story up to date and I know sometimes this may seem very matter-of-fact, but in the end, it actually makes sense and fits the core essential fabric of the storyline which is set around this secret brotherhood of some kind. It is a risky storyline to portray for fear of its overuse, but it is absolutely essential to understanding how and why certain things were done.
In its absolutes, the film may seem a little juvenile, but when looking deeper we can see that various bits of evidence that are hidden within the film seem to fit together almost perfectly like a badly done jigsaw puzzle in which most of the end pieces are missing. There is a sense of foreboding that hits in the films latter half, one that isn't there at the beginning when we are sure it is Alex's fault that this boy died. Once we start to get the bigger picture, we feel this strange anxiety come over us as the audience and we witness how disbelief and prejudice hinder the justice system at its core. It moves from a horror/thriller to a crime drama fuelled by its inadequacy to end the discussion as to who killed those children. The other twists are littered throughout the film in a way that you won't recognise unless you already know they are there.
In conclusion, there is a great amount of thrilling and chilling resonance in this film in comparison to the way various films in the 1990s thriller genre have been made (for example: Mulholland Drive etc.). There is also a good amount of thematic and symbolic analysis to suggest that this film is intentional trying to be some sort of hyper-realistic crime drama as opposed to a horror film (which it was previously marketed as and is still marketed as on some sites). The film itself is highly underrated as presenting itself as a thriller in the sense of using crime to create a sense of foreboding and dread from character to character and scene to scene. In which we experience flashbacks, the scenes are cut short and used by cliffhanger, making us watch the film further to place the pieces together and - in the interview room - we are only told as much information as is allowed for that particular time. This is a success on the part of the writing and directing.