Gregory J. Read's Like Minds, aka Murderous Intent, is one of those would-be ambitious low-budget psychological thrillers that makes for a better trailer than a film, with forensic psychiatrist Toni Collette trying to discover whether egotistical public schoolboy Eddie Redmayne is really responsible for the shooting of his sociopathic 'best friend' Tom Sturridge. Gestalt and the spectre of unhealthily attracted like minds like Leopold and Loeb and Hindley and Brady are evoked, but the script is really too trite and unfocused to make any dramatic capital out of them, while the references to the Masons, Thomas Becket, the Cathars and the Knights Templar are simultaneously vague and crushingly heavy-handed. Rather than showing the growing compulsion that draws the two boys together, the film oh so flatly tells us with excessive narration as if trying to paper over the cracks in post-production and hide the fact there's no on screen connection between the pair. Depending heavily on only assuming one character's point of view to build up its damp squib of a final twist, it's the kind of film where poor writing ensures that not only are the psychology and theology barely even half-baked at best but that the characters are too, and it falls into the trap of demonstrating the youths' supposed superior intellect by only putting them up against stupid people. But then this is a film where so much defies the suspension of disbelief - in one sequence, on discovering that Sturridge is filling his room with dissected dead animals, Patrick Malahide's headmaster insists his son continue to share the room with him because he's intellectually challenging company (and his parents might help him get on in his Masonic lodge).
An Anglo-Australian co-production, it's a curious hybrid: the schoolboys and teachers are played by Brits but all the cops are Australian (as, very noticeably, are the trains) and the look of the film is equally schizophrenic. The police station and interrogation scenes have an impressively controlled use of visual symmetry, but the public school sequences seem visually mundane and overfamiliar in comparison. More of a problem is Read's handling of the cast. Aside from her memorably amateurish delivery of the line "Your dirty work!", Collette is fine in her undeveloped role and Malahide almost manages to make his character convincing despite the odds, but the other players are more problematic: neither of the boys have much screen personality, let alone the kind of compelling presence the roles cry out for (Sturridge is especially ineffectual as the supposed master manipulator), while Richard Roxburgh's increasingly desperate (read clichéd) cop seems little more than a bad impersonation of Sean Pertwee. Ultimately it never adds up to anything, which wouldn't be a problem if the film could inject some drama, ambiguity or unease into proceedings, but since it never does, the film just constantly falls flat as it wastes screen time en route to its predictable final revelation.