First Impression: David Fincher’s Mindhunter

Psychopathy has always been an interest to filmmakers (American especially), and at times they allow for misrepresentation and exaggeration. Films about mental illness range from Hitchcock’s Psycho to M. Night Shyamalan’s recent work, Split, or even Fincher’s own extensive work, with a focal point of serial psycho killers.

Fincher strung out the original Zodiac killer back in 1960s San Francisco, and created an original psychopathic serial killer (Kevin Spacey) in Se7en. With Fincher debuting in the realm of Netflix, his new work Mindhunter is a series based on real-life killers and an actual unit of behavioural science way back in 1960s FBI and onwards. Since this is the premise, perhaps it’s best you know just how impressionable this series can leave you.

“The true story itself is one beyond interesting”

Fincher knows how to capture the cinematic experience, and he transfer’s those skills into his series. To explain what I mean think about all the TV conventions that are present whether you’re watching Friends or another Marvel superhero series about the Flash, Arrow, or Daredevil. Mindhunter steers away from these and crafts every episode like a small film that lasts between 45 minutes to an hour, and that’s a feeling to look forward to on any night of the week.

Not only does the series feel cinematic, but the true story itself is one beyond interesting to anyone wanting to understand the origins of psychopathic serial killers and the study of some of its basic terminology. Terms that started as “sequence killers” to… well…I’ll leave it to the imagination.

“The truth does tend to be stretched from time to time”

Fincher therefore has a lot to play with and has little to worry about lack of lustre, plot lines and new characters. Especially the characters, because when you’re not getting to know the FBI agents and alliance’s, you get to see some incredible depth of each serial killer through interviews that have actually taken place. How much of this is 100% entirely accurate is hard to say, but the truth does tend to be stretched from time to time.

It’s hard to present an easy answer as to how impressionable David Fincher’s work has been upon his audience. One way to put it though is him being the guy setting up blind dates for you, and every time it’s someone you love and the parents absolutely adore. With Netflix being able to take on bigger names in film and TV, there is something to say about how excellent their choices have been in recent times.

Take the impression it left on me with a pinch of salt though, because everyone certainly has their own taste (but it’s still amazing).


Matthew Johnson

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Image courtesy of Netflix UK.

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