Home 5 Buzz 5 Netflix’s Mindhunter review: A fascinating and intelligent exploration of serial killer study

Netflix’s Mindhunter review: A fascinating and intelligent exploration of serial killer study

Netflix's Mindhunter review: A fascinating exploration of serial killer study
Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany star in Mindhunter (Picture: Netflix)

Netflix’s Mindhunter takes a different path from executive producer David Fincher’s history with serial killer-led drama, by magnifying onto the psychology behind the violence.

Judging by the first two episodes, Mindhunter may prove a divisive concoction. If you’re expecting Fincher back in the case-solving chases of Seven or Zodiac, you’ll most likely be disappointed by the show’s methodical pacing and emphasis on intellectual stimulation over gruesome deaths.

The show’s introduction however hints towards more familiar territory. We meet F.B.I. hostage negotiator Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) in 1977 in the middle of his everyday life; stood resiliently alongside police as an armed man holds a woman captive and demands his wife’s presence at the scene.

Holden’s confidence at the situation however takes a bloodied, unexpected turn despite following his trained rules, sparking interest in researching new methods of understanding killers in sociology, the surrounding community and the contexts of their own upbringing.

What follows is Holden’s journey, alongside seasoned F.B.I. agent Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), to go beyond the ‘monster’ label attached to serial killers. The high point so far being Holden’s prison interviews with Edmund Kemper – a man who committed a string of murders involving both cannibalism and necrophilia, but possesses an intelligence and stable demeanour baffling to common understanding at the time.

Netflix's Mindhunter review: A fascinating exploration of serial killer study
Holden meets Edmund Kemper in some particularly tense sequences (Picture: Netflix)

It’s during these tense encounters you’re reminded of Fincher’s magic. His muted palette and intense camera precision is matched to an unsettling score which creeps in as academic intrigue comes uncomfortably close to their subjects. There’s also mentions of Charles Manson scattered throughout, and it’ll be interesting to see if other encounters with famed killer portrayals can, and will, form the basis of this ambitious series.

The performances are similarly stellar to match the production, with Jonathan Groff breaking away from his musical past in Hamilton, Frozen and Glee to deliver a captivating turn as a cold, bushy-tailed agent swimming amongst the sharks.

Netflix’s renewal of the series for a second season suggests they’re confident of success, but Mindhunter feels set to be a big win for a small audience. While technically excellent with stunning visuals, atmosphere and performances, the show’s a hard-sell for anyone who isn’t already fascinated by psychology behind the most horrifying criminals. For anyone who ponders Cesare Lombroso over breakfast however, this is crime TV catnip on an impressively intelligent scale.

You can catch Mindhunter currently streaming on Netflix.

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Metro Entertainment - TV

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