Mindhunter Netflix Series Review

mind hunters

Netflix just released their new original series from David Fincher and creator Joe Penhall titled Mindhunters. Fincher directed four out of the episodes in what was heavily advertised and promised as a spiritual follow-up to Fincher’s most seminal and finest work, Zodiac. The series looks great, the cinematography is on point, the score is what we’ve come to expect from the works of Fincher (same for the use of popular music), yet it doesn’t really quite live up to the standards of reuniting David Fincher and Netflix.

The series is an origin story about the FBI taking behavioral science seriously for the first time in the late 70s. Criminal profiling wasn’t a vocation then, but the series examines high profile serial killers and psychopaths from that era episode to episode, with the two man characters Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) traveling across the United States giving psych presentations to local law enforcement and interviewing subjects like Edmund Kemper and Richard Speck.

mind hunter

The show is intriguing, but it’s getting to the point where there are starting to be visible stress lines in the bubble that is “serial killer dramas” in the cinema and on television. Criminal Minds, Hannibal, True Detective and a trove of films have covered the subject matter in much of the same way, and while Mindhunter has fabulous production value, it doesn’t seem fresh or new.

The series also suffers from some wooden performances from some of the more prominent characters on the series. Jonathan Groff is fine as the young G-Man who stresses urgency for the FBI to take psych seriously when trying to understand the inner workings and mindset of killers; it’s not that Groff gives a poor performance, but there just doesn’t seem to be much there for him to develop the character into this sort of Will Graham-esque protagonist.

mindhunter

A couple other performances from some of the other supporting cast are not good. And at times it almost feels as if you’re watching a new episodic broadcast series with “fresh new faces” that are out of their depth and skill set working with a filmmaker like Fincher. There is a saving grace to the lackluster cast; Holt McCallany, he is fantastic as the seasonsed and hard FBI agent who has become crusted over after years of dealing with deranged killers. Cameron Britton gives a showstopping performance as Edmund Kemper and is an immeasurable amount of joy to watch, both his physicality and delivery of dialogue.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the series is there doesn’t seem to be an overall narrative to the first season. Sure, there’s character progression in the form of personal relationships and career building, and we’re teased with a big bad killer who is preparing to do something horrific, but the series is more episodic than having a taut character-driven main arc like say, True Detective.

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Mindhunter is a good series but suffers from high expectations with the higher talent assembled and a premise that looked like a mixture of the Hannibal Lecter series and True Detective. It’s good to see David Fincher still working in tough narratives, but some may wish he had skipped this and focused on whatever his next feature is.

Can’t wait for Season 2 and want to know more? CLICK HERE

Review by Frank Mengarelli

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4 Comments

  • T. Chaffee says:

    You’re an idiot! I’m on pens and needles wanting to see more! This was one of best series that I have seen in a very long time! Riveting! The writing perfect! The characters on point! I was getting so angry at Groff’s character and the writers took us to the exact point we needed to be in this tale! Please don’t listen to this fool and give us more!

  • Back to the Movies says:

    Everyone has their own opinion T. Frank wrote what he felt the show projected. All TV shows and films are subjective. We know this. I appreciate the comment if albeit a little aggressive.

  • Matthew says:

    A good premise but seems like a missed opportunity. Characters are behaving with seemingly different personalties in different scenes and too many scenes seem pointless, very frustrating.

  • Tes says:

    I, on the other hand, had no expectations about anyone involved in this series. It seems spot on and realistic. The typical tv series convention is for a casual observation to become a huge AHA moment which leads the character(s) to solve the crime. Life isn’t like this and I appreciate the slow and sometimes halting direction of the show. And as far as characters seeming different from episode to episode: Welcome to real life. When one notices that a personal acquaintance seems different for a short time, one either shrugs it off or pursues a “ heart to heart” to find out the cause. No fist fights at the police station…no screaming matches in the car. Life is a series of little revelations and most tv actors just don’t get that because they have to hear, “That’s a wrap” in 90 minutes. I’m intrigued and look forward to more.