We all know that artificial intelligence is going to be a large part of our future. What we don’t know is how AI is going to treat us, its creators. Will it be benevolent, or will it turn on us? There’s a compelling case to be made for the latter, given how we treat our world and our tech.
Parallel Minds takes place in a near-future where a pair of scientists have created a revolutionary, AI-powered contact lens which allows people to re-live their memories. Things seem promising right up until the lead scientist is killed under mysterious circumstances. This is when the gruff detective with a checkered past arrives to solve the case, and takes on the junior scientist as his partner for the case.
There’s a lot that you have probably seen here before, but Parallel Minds adds a unique spin to things by being written, acted, and directed primarily by indigenous people. The story revolves around a piece of future tech but relates to a medicine wheel and traditional teachings. Sure, the premise isn’t that unique, but there’s a lot going on here that we don’t often get to see on screen thanks to how underrepresented indigenous peoples are in media.
Greg Bryk plays the hardened detective Elliot (also appearing in Bloodthirsty at this festival), and it’s refreshing to see him play the good guy. Bryk is an accomplished actor, and he lends some extra gravitas to the proceedings. Tommie-Amber Pirie plays Margot, the junior scientist along for the investigation, and she does well with the material she’s given. Madison Walsh probably has the most fun as the good hacker, Jade. She has all the one-liners, and her delivery is delightfully acerbic.
If the film has a problem, it appears to be budgetary. The reach of the effects exceeds their grasp; however, there’s still some great production design on display here. I especially like the crazy future supercomputer and the metal dome that houses the AI interface in the Jade’s hideout.
If you’ve watched stories about AI before then you probably already have some idea how the story is going to resolve, but Parallel Minds takes the journey to get there in a few different and interesting directions. This makes it a journey worth taking.
Parallel Minds will air on SuperChannel as part of the 2020 Blood in the Snow Festival on Saturday, November 6th at 6 pm Pacific / 9 pm Eastern.