Trainees in the FBI's psychological profiling program must put their training into practice when they discover a killer in their midst.Trainees in the FBI's psychological profiling program must put their training into practice when they discover a killer in their midst.Trainees in the FBI's psychological profiling program must put their training into practice when they discover a killer in their midst.
Since Fincher's Se7en, thrillers have taken the macabre turn in the crime genre. Reaching the point of Wan's Saw set within one of those trials of torture. Mindhunters similarly attempts the same zenith, upping Se7en's police duo with a ragtag team of FBI agents, racing to solve an ongoing test of intelligence and insanity. Despite the blatant exposition and character development, none of these people seem smarter than Pitt's hardheaded detective.
The agents muster a fun mix of "oh, they've come a long way since" and "oh... who?" Notable entertainers here are Johnny Lee Miller sporting his best Blanche DuBois, Christian Slater and Val Kilmer competing in their natural friendly-yet-suspicious-yet-bored acting styles, and LL Cool J acting as if he was John McClane in yet another preposterous scenario.
Attempting to outdo predecessors with 'bigger is better', the story takes place on an isolated island complete with an entire city simulation for a training exercise. According to their teacher, representative of "the mind of a sociopath", presumably not meaning laughably inane and ridiculously convenient for the killer's grand scheme. The film, of course, never slows down to let you question how the entire plot hinges of this arbitrary setting.
The script of Mindhunters is definitely where entertainment hinges on as Harlin desperately races ahead of logic and common sense. For such a complex and convoluted mystery build, there are a remarkable number of legitimate plant and pay-offs. Many of them are obvious enough to predict despite the suspension of disbelief being thoroughly tested. Much how Jigsaw relies on sheer chance amidst his philosophical soliloquies, a great number of set-pieces and foreshadowing relies on pure coincidence.
The script is constantly testing whether these characters are supposed geniuses outmatched or merely idiots outwitted by another idiot. One particular if insignificant moment of clumsy writing is the repeated mantra of a situation only being secure "on the drive home", the heroes of course proving this right... when boarding a helicopter to safety. Could've easily been fixed for "on the way home" but it doesn't affect the story.
In a world of post-modern, meta-narrative ironies, Harlin is successful in his sheer earnestness for pure, dumb, entertainment. For a film about investigative geniuses battling a criminal mastermind, it's best to leave your brain at the door.
- Jul 6, 2016