Brainwashing people is something you see everyday in society and in social media. Politicians are promising a lot of good stuff for everyone, but at the end of the day they take the money and think about their own luxary lifestyle. The same goes for ( some ) religious leaders who live in luxary homes, thanks to people giving them money. My personal opinion about leaders brainwashing people, is that they are using people for their own advantage. And this is wrong on so many levels. I learned as a young boy, that you should work hard and do what is right in society. As long as we have leaders using brainwashing to get themselves famous, we have a long way to go until they can be stopped. When it comes to films that take on this subject, you have plenty of titles to choose between. But i do have 2 films on my mind, that i think brings up the subject of brainwashing in different ways. Let us start with the 2005 film known as The Island, from director Michael Bay. This film tells the story of an isolated compound, on an island where humans are living under strict rules. The people living here have been told that they are safe from the outside world, that have become too contaminated for human life. Actors Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson both do great performances here, as two of the humans trapped on this Island. I also enjoy the crazy performance by actor Steve Buscemi here as well. One of the reasons why this film is good, is that it manage to show you how it is possible to brainwash people to believe in anything. I personally Think this is one of director Michael Bay´s better filmsin his career. The next film that comes to my mind is an independent film called Holy Ghost People, released in 2013. Directed by Mitchell Altieri, this film tells the story of a man going to a secret church society, where his sister is missing. A well made independent film, and i especially enjoy the performance of actor Joe Egender as cult leader Brother Billy. I recently came across a film on VOD that seems to have brainwashing inside the plot, of a film called Level 16. With an interesting plot, and a great looking poster, is this an unexpected positive surprise for me, or is Level 16 doomed to fail for being too predictable ?
In a highly regimented boarding school, every girl is taught to be clean, not ask any questions and just follow the rules. Miss Brixil ( Sara Canning ) makes sure that every girl follow the rules, or they will be punished. Vivien ( Katie Douglas ) begin to doubt that this is no ordinary boarding school, and especially doubt the answers she gets. It seems that there is a secret inside this building, and Vivien starts to look for clues to why they are locked up.
It is not often you see a film with almost only female cast, and this makes Level 16 unique in a positive way. But the real reason why Level 16 is a great film, is because of the secret of why these girls are kept locked up. Imagine mixing together The Island with a strict boarding school film, and you basically have Level 16. Right from the beginning you get a sense that this is no ordinary educational program. Now let´s get into the cast. I am so happy to see so many women in this film, since we need strong female characters in films. Actress Katie Douglas ( who you probably have seen in TV series Mary Kills People ) plays the most strong female character Vivien, a young woman who clearly understand that something is not right with this building. Katie is a really good choice for this character, and i feel she gives us a solid performance. Actress Celina Martin ( who you might have seen in TV series The Other Kingdom ) plays the character Sophia, a woman who is insecure, but has a good heart. Actress Sara Canning ( who you probably have seen in TV series The Vampire Diaries ) as the evil character Miss Brixil, is exactly what a film like this needs. Sara knows exactly how to portrait her character into a mean bitch, and i love that. The plot seems a bit thin at first, but when we get deeper into the truth later on, this film becomes more interesting. I won´t reveal any spoilers, since i feel that you should see the film instead and hopefully be surprised. Director Danishka Esterhazy ( who directed the drama film H & G ) have clearly a big passion to tell stories about women, and it shows in Level 16. Danishka knows how to combine a thriller drama with psychological strings included. If you are looking to see something different, with an interesting twist, then Level 16 should be a film that will please you. I am curious to see what director Danishka Esterhazy is working on in the future, because she caught my attention with Level 16.