. Mindhunter (Review) - LadyS Reviews

Mindhunter (Review)

The new David Fincher Netflix crime drama Mindhunter starts off with a bang, literally. based on the real story of the FBI's 1970s research into psychopaths and the behavior of serial killers, two agents Holden Ford “Jonathan Groff” and Bill Tench “Holt McCallany” hit the road to interview them. In the large pool of serial-killer entertainment on both the big and small screen, Mindhunter is in the skin-crawling, heart racing, and addictive binge-watching category.

 Even though only the first and last two episodes were the ones directed by Fincher, it’s clear that he set the tonal template and visuals for the rest of the episodes. Mindhunter’s atmosphere is not only calm, but unnervingly tranquil. The thrill in the series doesn’t depend on fast and showy camera angles, but on the disturbing events, and consistent character building. It doesn’t need too much gore to make you imagine the nightmarish acts that the characters did, the tone, performances and script are enough to drive that image in your head.

While Anna Trov’s character “Wendy” is written unwaveringly, her decisions determined by her profession and personality, Holden’s girlfriend Debbie “Hannah Gross” is as bland as it gets. For a character that appeared so much in the series that she could have had her own arc, the opportunity was wasted and instead used as a tool to capitalize on the parallels or differences between Holden and Bill’s characters. Bill is shown to be having trouble home with his son, and the nature of his work added a lot of tension between him and his wife. At some point Bill stepped back from the interviews because he was self-aware enough to know that it’s messing with his head. His Partner on the other hand had him worried because he seemed almost immune to everything. Holden starts off as an aspiring energetic agent with an idea. As the story flows, his fascination with serial killers grows. Holden’s character borrows some of Walter White’s “Breaking Bad” habits. Just as Walter gains a new habit from everyone he killed, Holden was seen developing traits from the killers he interviews, who he personally sees as his own conquests. It started off as small things like changing his preferred meal and eventually developed to him quoting Kepmer, the first serial killer he interviewed, in an investigation. Holden’s attitude towards his girlfriend changes dramatically almost to a point where he outright tells her to shut up and just encourage his behavior. It’s unclear whether they’ll go the “Breaking Bad” rout and make the show a Holden Ford serial killer origin story , but if they did it, the next season will be even more fascinating to watch.

The show gave every character their own stand out moment. One of the best was “Jonathan Groff” in the last episode, with his confrontation with Kemper played hauntingly by “Cameron Britton.” I can see Britton easily collecting his trophies in the next award season, he was surrounded by an impeccably strong cast, and yet managed to overshadow them with his calm and chilling performance that parallels the show’s theme. “Holt McCallany” best performance was his breakdown when he found out that his son saw one of his crime scene photos. In the sea of killers who talk about their crimes nonchalantly, the scene added much needed emotional intensity.

Despite the surprisingly restricted gore, the dark themes and drama, Mindhunter managed to sneak some dry but funny moments in the script. Those little entries were what made the show more realistic. It shows that even when we’re in our darkest places we can find some humor.  The series plays well on the idea of what makes humans behave this way. What makes it unique is that we’re seeing how profiling criminals was developed, and the cost the people who worked on that study paid. It’s literally the foundation of every crime show ever made. A lot happened in just ten episodes, but some of them dragged a bit, so the overall season didn’t feel too overwhelming. Mindhunter is fascinating and chilling to the bone. Easily the best thing Netflix has ever came up with.