The plot has a conceptually wild swim of elements that leaves one constantly wondering where on Earth everything is going. It heads into some genuinely strange territory with Tom Sturridge moving into Eddie Redmaynes room and then conducting taxidermic experiments in the room; Eddie and his friend abducting him aboard the train to teach him a lesson; and especially the scenes where Tom Sturridge takes Eddie Redmayne to a hidden room in the cellar of his family home in the dead of night and starts making claims about Knights Templar history that connect them as soulmates. It gets even stranger when Eddie Radmayne starts believing that Tom Sturridge can read his thoughts and then some of Sturridges bizarre psychological games, including leaving severed hands on Eddies bed. And then comes the genuine shock moment where we see the body of Kate Maberly eviscerated in a greenhouse, just like one of Tom Sturridges taxidermy animals, with her stomach surgically pinned open and pieces of intestine draped from the greenery. There is a perverse scene where Tom Sturridge subsequently breaks into a morgue in the middle of the night and expects Eddie Redmayne to have sex with Kate Maberlys corpse.
On the other hand, despite constantly hinting at an extravagant plot mind-reading, murderous teenagers playing psychological games, Knights Templar bloodlines and conspiracies this is far more mundane in the eventual unfolding. The way Gregory Read sets the plot up, you keep expecting that Like Minds will turn into some kind of historical conspiracy a la the same years The Da Vinci Code (2006) or something even more fantastical. However, the plot never seems to grapple with the ideas it introduces. Other parts seems conveniently juggled about according to the requirements of the moment one of the more annoying aspects is how when Eddie Redmayne is first introduced, Read tries to emphasise his coldness and arrogance to make it seem like he is the killer and yet when the bulk the film unfolds, his character comes across as far more vulnerable and haunted. It is the case of a character being bent out of shape in order to provide a red herring and make us think that Toni Collette is dealing with a cold-blooded teenage killer. Similarly so, the plot is twisted in a way that makes it seem like it was Tom Sturridge who was killed on the train in order to produce an at least effective shock twist when the person killed turns out not to be Sturridge after all. Also the ending muddies things and leaves us unsure who killed Susan and especially who desecrated her grave.
If nothing else, with its wild plot elements and constantly lurking sense of the dark and perverse, Like Minds is never an uninteresting film. Although one of the complaints that one might make about Gregory Read is that he makes a static film that comes mostly relayed through characters talking and never holds much in the way of dramatic action. One good scene where things do come alive is where Toni Collette finds her way down to the cellar hideaway and starts uncovering secrets, only to be attacked by a vicious dog. In terms of tone and plotting though, it was hard to stop reminding oneself that Like Minds was actually a theatrical release rather than a British tv crime drama. Although to this extent you do have to commend Gregory Read for the high degree of credibility he evinces in terms of setting despite it being set in a quintessential British boys boarding school, most of the film was actually shot in various parts of Australia.
Even though the psychological profiler has become a standard one over the last few years, Toni Collette impresses with the cool professionalism of her performance and most of all in the chameleon shift she makes fromthe other roles we have seen her in. The two boys Eddie Redmayne, some years before he became a rising star, and Tom Sturridge, the son of Charles Sturridge, the director of Brideshead Revisited (1981) and FairyTale: A True Story (1997), both give strong and intelligent performances of considerably shaded nuance.