Benjamin Ross Hayden’s futuristic sci-fi Parallel Minds begins with the invention of Red Eye 2, an improved ocular device that allows you to relive precious memories and record new ones. As the launch approaches, Red Eye researcher Margo (Tommie-Amber Pirie) works closely with the product’s head developer. In a shocking turn, the developer turns up dead; prompting a withered detective, Thomas (Greg Bryk), to look for answers behind the alleged murder. Margo assists him because, though she may be rattled from her own personal trauma, she’s determined to find out who committed the crime.
The production should be commended on its resourcefulness. Parallel Minds builds a grounded not-too-distant future that’s easy to invest in because of its even balance of contemporary touches within its dystopia. The seams of this indie are visible, but a shoddy special effect is usually followed up with nifty creativity. But, the effort can’t disguise just how substantially ordinary Parallel Minds is.
Hayden’s movie is essentially a by-the-numbers whodunit with few surprises and a plot that grows more boring and convoluted as time passes. Parallel Minds shows commitment to its premise, but a lack of confidence in its execution. It sets itself up well, teasing movie goers of its potential, only to rely on genre conventions and atmospheric clichés. Take the morose tone, for instance. It feels like a compulsory aid more than a natural choice to compliment the story. As a result, other factors of the film are compromised. Tommie-Amber Pirie usually has a spirited presence in Jeremy Lalonde’s work (The Go-Getters, James vs. His Future Self) but here, under Benjamin Ross Hayden’s direction, she doesn’t find much range in this sullen material. Ditto for Bryk’s formulaic detective, which is not so much a character than it is a collection of off-the-shelf crime noir qualities.
While it’s an attractive film, Parallel Minds doesn’t have the ambition to match.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie