Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Weekly Movie Night 4

[Spoiler warning! I normally try to avoid giving away too much information about a movie, but this weeks "film", Mindhunters, requires I spend a bit of time going into detail about the ending. If your at all interested in this movie, and want to be surprised by the climax, I advise you to skip this entire post. Actually, I'd advise you to skip this movie altogether.]

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog(I'm sure those people exist) may remember during my post on Nightmare on Elm Street that I expressed distaste for Finnish filmmaker Renny Harlin. His films usually start out promisingly enough, but devolve continuously until they resemble made-for-basic-cable cheapies and sub-Bruckheimer action drivel. I'm maybe being too harsh on the man, and somewhere in his oeuvre he may have a few good films, but everything I've seen leads me to believe that isn't the case. The one film of his I do actively enjoy, Nightmare 4, is still only the 4th or 5th best in the series. All of his films have a generally sound idea. Not genius or inspired, but certainly the groundwork for a fun, pulpy good time. Long Kiss Goodnight? Perfect opportunity for some hard-boiled nasty fun, is instead a fairly by-the-book action movie with most, if not all, entertainment coming from Samuel L. Jackson.

It's pretty much the same story for Mindhunters, but minus the Samuel Jackson. So logically, minus the entertainment. Like The Matrix without the special effects, or a root canal without the Novocaine. Mindhunters is one of the most offensively brainless movies I've seen in the past few years. To be fair, though, my movie watching has decreased markedly since having a child 3 years ago, so there are probably a few more brainless movies out there. Case in point; I haven't seen a single Uwe Boll movement. I mean movie.

Mindhunters started out promisingly, with another great, pulpy concept involving a group of FBI profilers on an island for a training mission running into a serial killer who is profiling them. And, for the first part of the film I let my inhibitions go and just went with the film, even once the incredibly ludicrous killings started. There was some poor, post-silence of the lambs back story for the heroine, and a bit of angsty character development for everyone, but I ignored it for the most part. The thing is, the film didn't really capitalize on any of it's potential, and never improved after the opening, rather it coasted slowly down to earth, sinking a little lower with each minute.

Realism isn't necessarily something you expect from a movie of this nature, but in the age of crime procedurals and CSI franchises, audiences are a little more sophisticated and require some more convincing explanation when it comes to the science of murder. This may not technically be the fault of the filmmakers, since this one was filmed back in 2002, back in the days of only one CSI, and they maybe thought they could get away with flubbing some of it.

One thing that isn't forgivable, however, is the twist ending to the film, which soured my entire tolerance of the preceding hour and a half. It's actually something that bothers me a lot these days; the twist ending. Why does every film feel it needs a dramatic reversal of expectations in the last 5 minutes to leave an impact? I blame the 90s boom of Seven, Fight Club and the 6th Sense. It's not enough to tell a good story, now the filmmaker has to try and fool the audience. When this works, it's usually because the clues are laid out through the film, so that once you've seen the ending, it seems obvious in retrospect. When it fails, it's because the ending comes out of nowhere and feels like the filmmakers have been basically playing an extended practical joke on you. Can you guess which one Mindhunters falls into?

I expected a surprise reveal of the villain, and I'm happy to say that it originally wasn't who I thought it would be. I say originally, because 5 minutes after revealing the villain, and having him kill a character and speechify about how and why he did it, they pull a switcheroo and reveal that he WASN'T the killer, and the guy you kinda expected all along was actually the one who did it. Now, keep in mind that this false killer killed someone, and stalked and brutally beat our heroine before the reveal that he wasn't the serial killer. And then he saves her from the real killer, and all is forgiven. In fact, it isn't mentioned again as they ride off into the sunrise together in that vaguely romantic way that all male/female action movies end. BUT HE ACTUALLY ADMITS TO THE CRIMES!!!

If anyone watches this film, or has seen it already, can you please explain this to me? Did I black out for a few minutes that were incredibly crucial to this development? Did Renny Harlin forget to take one of the alternate endings out of the film? Because any way I look at it just pisses me off.

No comments: