Friday, December 16, 2022

Mindcage: Movie Review

Grungy, stupid, unoriginal crime thriller.
Mindcage is a movie about a new-ish, young-ish police detective Mary (Melissa Roxburgh), the imprisoned serial killer known as The Artist (John Malkovich) and Mary’s seasoned detective partner Jake (Martin Lawrence) as they try to track down a new copycat killer who knows all The Artist’s secrets. And it’s just a really stupid movie. Police detectives in a cat-and-mouse chase of a serial killer that is devoid of anything original or intelligent.   2022

Directed by: Mauro Borrelli

Screenplay by: Reggie Keyohara III

Starring: Melissa Roxburgh, John Malkovich, and Martin Lawrence

The whole movie looks and feels outdated as if it was made in the 90s. And it’s not helped by the fact that it borrows so heavily from so many 90s crime thrillers including The Silence of the Lambs, The Bone Collector and Copycat to name but a few.

There is heavy usage of art and religious themes, but I’m afraid the filmmakers just think they have greater meaning than they do. You can’t just throw in art references and religious symbols and be like “There, metaphors! We’re a deep movie!” Empty symbolism is irritating and really just leads to an outdated stupid movie that think it’s smarter than it is.

As a Manifest fan, I was looking forward to seeing Melissa Roxburgh in something different. She always lends a unique presence to her characters, but Mary isn’t different at all. She’s another smart, independent police detective who is going to piss off her superiors because when she thinks she’s right she knows she’s right and nothing stops her. There’s a certain level of arrogance to these characters that I would like to see her tone down.

Please try not to laugh when you see John Malkovich first appear as the serial killer The Artist, currently in a mental hospital. He loves playing absolutely ridiculous characters like this. The over-the-top costuming to make him appear as the old, wise sage who is both a genius and a psychotic killer is the exact right level of camp the movie deserves and I’m sure Malkovich had a blast, but his name and presence don’t help the movie.

Unfortunately, Martin Lawrence is left to play one of the most inconsistent and poorly written characters out there. He goes from hating his partner and not giving her any information, to storming out of his superior’s office all with really bad dialogue, to being this out-of-touch detective who believes in auras and other mystical nonsense, to then having key pieces of information that helps Mary while he daydreams about the time he caught The Artist. It’s clear we’re heading to a really stupid conclusion involving Jake since most characters (even in bad movies) are written with a clearer purpose than this.

Mindcage is a time-waster, and not even a nicely shot one that either. It’s a very grungy 90s detective thriller with popular actors wasting their time who are going to cause audiences to waste their time.

Available to rent on iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon, etc.

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