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Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Mindhack

My notes on Mindhack.

As is perhaps appropriate for the subject matter, this combines hard techy material with soft squishy grey matter – it’s maddeningly vague, but reasonably engaging.  Hacktivist genius Mason (the slightly bland Chris Mason) goes by the name Mr Vix and wears a fox mask while webcasting his various subversive stunts.  He’s working on mapping the human brain – with a view to ‘fixing’ humanity – and has made sundry breakthroughs which saddle him with Phin (Scott Mechlowicz), a spikier splinter of his personality who keeps nagging him not to be such a monastic nerd and when the process is sufficiently advanced manifests as an actual flesh and blood person who wants to go out and try booze, cupcakes, drugs (all served on platters like sweeties) and sex.  Meanwhile, Mason’s real mirror image is Eden (Faran Tahir), who has a glove sends a zapwave that painfully disrupts the brain and is intent on co-opting Mason’s tech to destroy humanity.  Also flitting in and out is waiflike Sawyer (Spencer Locke), who is never quite identified as another projection – and does serve as the hero’s saviour-cum-soulmate in the finale, which finds him tied to a chair and tortured (several times).

 

Written and directed by Royce Gorsuch, this is all over the place – the meat of the drama seems to be in the Frankensteinian or Jekyll/Hyde arguments between Mason and Phin (now I come to think of it, Phineas Mason is the alter ego of a Spider-Man baddie, the Tinkerer) which benefit from Mechlowicz’s charismatic presence but still boil down to a tech nerd talking to himself.  It has a good look, and the background world – subtly altered from our own – is nicely imagined, but the story folds in on itself too often, with false threads that don’t pay off and a couple of major ellipses in the what-the-hell-is-going-on department.  Though up to the minute in its protagonist’s social media profile, with a mob of hashtag screenname fans commenting on his campaigns and showing up briefly at the end, it has a retro vibe, harking back to the 1980s futurism of Videodrome or Neuromancer.  There is a blip of mindprobing movies at the moment, and this fits in on the shelf with Sequence Break and Incontrol.

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  1. Pingback: FrightFest 2017 – Complete Review Round-Up | The Kim Newman Web Site - August 29, 2017

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