The Darkest Minds (2018)
Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control of their future.
In the not too distant future, things are looking bad for the kids. The ones that aren’t dying mysteriously have powers that fall into a series of categories, ranging from manageable to highly dangerous. These powers – including telekinesis, hyper intelligence and the ability to channel and control electricity – render the government terrified.
In response, all kids under 18 are torn from the bosoms of their families and shepherded off to internment camps where they’re filed according to colour (and therefore risk to society). They’re also given menial tasks to keep them useful and presumably out of trouble.
Our heroine, Ruby is one of the rarest of children. An Orange to be specific and considered the most dangerous. Among her skills is the ability to manipulate people into doing her will (think Jedi Mind Trick). It’s the Rolls Royce of the superpower if we’re honest and the one I would choose for myself.
During routine registration, Ruby is able to convince her doctor that she is not a threat and she is miscategorised as a Green. Nobody but her knows the level of her power and honestly, she still doesn’t really have a clue what she’s capable of.
Years later, grown up Ruby’s (Amandla Stenberg) secret is uncovered (duh). But when she meets Cate (Mandy Moore), part of an organisation called The Children’s League, she is able to escape the camp. Confused and not sure who to trust, Ruby separates herself from Cate and her husband – and finds herself on the run with Zu, Charles and Liam.
All Ruby wants is to go home to her parents but there’s an issue there which will soon become clear. Can she ever go back? And when the gang eventually find “Slip Kid”, a fellow Orange who runs a safe and secret utopia of his own, will they finally be safe?
The Darkest Minds is very much the first in a series of films and feels like it. While Ruby is very likable, thanks to Stenberg – it’s quite fast-moving with a lot crammed in. In addition to the rebellion and The Children’s League (and their own motives, which aren’t that clear yet), there are also freelance bounty hunters hot on the heels of our group (and all children kicking against the system).
My girl Gwendoline Christie plays a bounty hunter called Lady Jane – and is just not very good. The role is not very meaty admittedly but it is very hammy (lol) and I don’t like seeing her like this. The romantic element, while sweet, also grows a little tiresome – maybe, just maybe I’m too old for this shit. I think anyone with a penchant for YA adaptations, such as The Hunger Games, Divergent and Twilight, will be in their element but I can take or leave most of them and this is why it didn’t work for me.
All in all the concept is good, the performances are mostly good (including Beach Rats‘ pretty boy Harris Dickinson) and it looks nice. I like the idea of these very different children finding acceptance among their peers and the friendship element is strong here.
Some of the lighting and the cinematography is really heavenly to look at and the whole idea of being forgotten by the ones you love is heart-wrenching but it’s just not really my jam. I allowed myself to be seduced by the “From the producers of Stranger Things” tagline and, while I don’t regret going out of my way to see this, I’m not sure I’ll be in line for part 2.
Who am I kidding though, of course I will.