REVIEW: MINDSCAPE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JORGE DORADO / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: TAISSA FARMIGA, MARK STRONG, BRIAN COX / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 25TH
The titular Mindscape is a company that deals in “memory detectives”, those with a talent for entering someone else’s memories and carrying out “remote viewing” to solve crimes. One of the best at this is John (Strong), who suffered a stroke during a remote viewing session that went critically wrong. Now he’s broke and needs the work, so is assigned to investigate the case of Anna (a powerful performance from American Horror Story regular Taissa Farmiga), a deeply troubled teen who has gone on a hunger strike.
While the job seems simple and an easy payday for John, the deeper he delves into Anna’s memories, the darker and more twisted the plot becomes, because Anna might be far more traumatised than was originally thought – either that, or she’s the most manipulative sociopath John has ever met.
The film (co-produced by Jaume Collet-Serra of Orphan fame) cleverly starts out in the vein of a typical '80s slasher film, with a teenage girl about to step into a bath suddenly becoming suspicious of a noise in the house, while being observed by someone who is invisible to her. But it settles down to being a tense psychological thriller, albeit a little on the talky side. We’re used to seeing thrillers adopt a slow and deliberate pace as a device to heighten the tension, but there are parts of Mindscape where the audience may well feel the urge to get out and push.
Overall, it’s not a bad film but perhaps the concept of someone solving crimes by entering their memories might better be served as the pilot for a TV series.