We all suffer from past experiences but what happens when the past controls our present?
Such is the concept behind Parallel Minds, a new sci-fi thriller from the mind of Benjamin Ross Hayden (The Northlander). Minds takes place in the near future when technology firm Red Eye is on the verge of a revolutionary contact lens that has the power to record data and resurrect the memories you wish you could forget. Before the tech is able to launch, Metis researcher Margo Elson (Tommie Amber-Pirie) is devastated to learn that her friend—and Red Eye’s head programmer—has been murdered. Determined to uncover the truth, Margo teams up with Thomas (Greg Bryk), a burned out detective who struggles with his past, in order to explore the complex web that Red Eye is attemping to weave.
Written and directed by Hayden, Parallel Minds is an incredibly ambitious film that unfortunately tends to lose its way. Though the film blends solid ingredients of sci-fi and fantasy, Minds simply wants to explore too many avenues for the mix to fully gel together cohesively. While themes of the pain of Indiginous peoples at the hands of residential schools are presented but never fully explored. Ideas of connecting with the spiritual realm create drama within Margo’s character yet somehow feel out of place. As a result, while the cast are up for the challenge, the film regrettably feels like several great movies that lose their power when brought together.
Having said this, the film does contain an interesting conversation about the effect of our memories on our present. As Margo and Thomas fight desperately to find the truth behind the death of her friend, both suffer from repressed memories that provide mental stumbling blocks to their lives. Suffering from a traumatic loss, Thomas struggles with feelings of guilt and shame. At the same time, Margo is hindered by the pain of her grandmother’s tragic death. For both characters, their lives remain frozen by the power of their memories which haunt them.
Similar to how villainous supercomputer U.R.M. continues to grow in power as it feeds off of the minds of others, these repressed memories continue to push down on Margo and Thomas in ways that crush their spirits. For them, the only way to truly move forward is to go back and deal directly with the demons that plague them. In this way, hope for these characters lies on the other side of a powerful darkness that they must first pass through. As they gain new perspectives on their past, Margo and Thomas begin to understand the meaning of their stories in new light and thus, begin to break free from its power.
Ultimately, Parallel Minds demonstrates a desire to explore the control that the shadows of our memories can hold over us. However, with too many pieces in the package, Minds may simply outthink itself in the end.
Parallel Minds is on VOD now.