Film ó Mindhunters (R)
by Amy Diaz
B-list movie stars die one by one on a remote FBI training island in the gray and tired Mindhunters.
Are there any reasons to see this movie? Yes, one, Christian Slaterís naked ass. We get to see it for several seconds. It fills a good part of the screen as Slater stands in the shower. Itís there so big, so unexpected and for so long that it takes you a while to figure out what you are seeing and how you feel about that. What is that, you think? Is that Christian Slaterís ó no, it couldnít be. Sure, his careerís been shaky lately but it hasnít come to the point of, oh, wait, that is his butt. Man, how the once-popular have fallen. The shot is so out-of-nowhere, so unnecessary that its existence provides the movieís one moment of true surprise. (Which, yes, now Iíve spoiled for you. But something tells me itís really one of those you-have-to-see-it-to-believe situations.)
Of course, Slaterís butt is only on the screen for about 15 seconds. So what can you do with the other 105 minutes, 45 seconds of the movie? Uhm, your grocery list. Your bills. Your nails. You can spend the time guessing how everyoneís going to die. The movie gives you a big bucket full of clues in the first 10 minutes as to who will be left standing in the movieís final 10 or so minutes. So the suspense of who is going to die isnít all that engaging.
Though there are so many possible murder victims it is impressive that the movie ultimately is able to do most of them in. Seven potential FBI profilers are sent to a remote island to run a serial-killer simulation. The goal is to study the clues at a fake crime scene and work up a profile and potential next-victim of a killer named the Puppeteer. Included in the group are Philly police officer Gabe (LL Cool J, billed as James Todd Smith), group leader JD (Christian Slater) and obvious lead character Sara Moore (Kathryn Morris of Cold Case). They spend a night together in preparation and braggadocio and set out next morning to find their pretend victim. They find her, a bloody mannequin hanging by fishhooks, but quickly the pretend victim leads to a real victim when a booby-trap causes one team member to get killed. Itís at this point that the gang comes to believe things are not simulation as usual. Thinking that their FBI trainer or perhaps one of their own number is the killer, they set out to profile not a fake killer but the one hunting them.
I know, weíre being stalked by an unknown assailant on a remote and inescapabe island, letís make a point of splitting up a lot. Sure, everyone suspects everyone else, but thatís no reason not to separate on several occasions so as to preserve the mystery. Also, letís creep around rooms seldom turning on the lights but by all means touch every other piece of evidence or potential trap-springing crime-scene item. Also, maybe we could create a Mexican standoff of gun-pointing on a regular basis but never resolve it in any kind of interesting or realistic way (usually, the characters seem to sort of forget or lose interest in pointing guns at each other).
Mindhunters is a suspense in name and genre only ó no actual mystery or suspense exists. Wait, no, I misspoke. When the killer is finally revealed, we wonder why in the name of God he has to deliver such a long and pointless speech explaining his reasons for offing his fellow cast members. Why turn to some deep psychological needs when the words ďthey couldnít actĒ would have been all the explanation needed?
- Amy Diaz
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