The theatrical trailer for The Darkest Minds didn’t inspire confidence. Instead, it left the viewer struggling to figure out the story. Remaining true to this, the film turned out to be a messy disappointment, not worth anybody’s time or money.
The Darkest Minds is a story of teenage rebellion against an authoritative government, much like Divergent and The Maze Runner. Ruby Daly (Amandla Stenberg) is caught in the middle after it is revealed she has a unique set of powers. In fact, she is one of the few youths still alive. Ruby is joined by Liam (Harris Dickinson), Chubs (Skylan Brooks), and Zu (Miya Cech), and they, too, have their own skillsets. A cast of supporting characters pop in and out throughout the story.
After surviving a mysterious illness, it is revealed that the government is rounding up and detaining all children and teenagers who are left. What happens after that depends on the individual, as it may be a matter of life or death.
Beyond this, unfortunately, there isn’t much to say. The Darkest Minds lends itself to irrelevance and inconsistency. Each scene or event is edited together with little transition or build-up in between. The audience is left wanting more, as there is no sense of accomplishment by the end and the main characters really aren’t better off than they were before. The opportunity for character development is also missing.
The Darkest Minds finishes with the obvious hint at a sequel, but it is hard to imagine how that could happen. To date, with a nearly 35 million dollar budget, less than seven million dollars have been earned at the box office. The ratings have, for the most part, been negative, and for good reason. A second film could not possibly be justified, but stranger things have happened.
Unlike Divergent or The Maze Runner, both popular franchises catering to teens and young adults, The Darkest Minds gives the audience absolutely no reason to care. There is no emotional investment to be had in the story or for the characters. No background is provided for any of the characters, not even the main protagonist. We know nothing about them.
At times, this movie feels like an amateur film that somehow made it to wide release. It lacks substance and tact. The Darkest Minds tries to be its own, unique story, but it forgets the basic elements of storytelling and fails to engage the audience.