August 6, 2014

DVD Review: Anna aka Mindscape (2014)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1715336/
Sometimes a movie comes along where the parts end up being better than the whole, and that is the case with Anna aka Mindscape.

With the success of American Horror Story, Taissa Farmiga (Mini, if you're nasty), is a star on the rise. She's talented beyond her years (having an incredible big sister like Vera Farmiga probably helps), and in all honesty, she's probably one great role away from being a huge star.

She is one of those aforementioned parts that make the whole of this movie better for her presence alone. There are other parts as well, but make no mistake, she is the main one here.

*We're going to get into some very specific spoilers in the "Bad" sections below, so as to bitch about a few things that made no sense to us, so be careful.

John Washington is a Memory Consultant; that basically means that he can enter a persons "Mindscape" and experience their memories, thus helping to solve crimes and mysteries and shit. When John has a stroke during one of his trips into someone's memories, he loses his job and starts drinking a lot. He then becomes both a pariah and a laughing stock, which makes him drink even more.

All he ever wanted to do was help... and drink.
Anna is a 16-year-old girl who sits locked in her room all day, mainly because her parents think she's a creep. After an "accidental" poisoning at her prestigious Boarding School, Anna is expelled, and she becomes something of a pariah herself. It doesn't help things that she has really creepy eyes, and acts all mysterious just like a shifty sociopath would, either. Bottom line is that she's up to something, and she should probably just stay locked in her room for the sake of everyone's safety and well being.

No one squints like that when they're innocent!
John gets the chance to restart his career by helping Anna discover the mysteries of her past, and the two form an oddly unsettling bond; you know, the kind of bond that involves and older man and a younger girl gazing longingly at one another, with all sorts of tension and subtext lying just below the surface of what they say and don't say... Alright, maybe you don't know, but it happens. Just look to Lolita or Roman Polanski for proof.

"But why does 'secret tickle therapy' mean, mister?"
Is Anna a sociopath, or just a misunderstood girl with issues? Can John ever hope to escape the ghosts of his past, and live a normal life again? Does this movie sound generic and formulaic to anyone else but us? Far be it from me to spoil anything for you here, but suffice it to say that putting your faith in creepy young girls is never the answer. Not ever.

Put your hand down, Creepy.
Mindscape is a really well made film, that had us engrossed from start to almost finish. Actually, we were engrossed the entire way through, but having let the ending of the movie sink in for a while now, we have to say that we were engrossed under false pretenses as far as the last 15 minutes or so go. More on that in the sections below.

Aside from the way it wrapped up, Mindscape was deftly plotted and paced, and it had a comfy atmosphere about it. 

Mark Strong is always good, and he's convincing here as a Memory Consultant with a haunted past. Same goes for Brian Cox; the guy is brilliant, and we welcome any chance to see him in any movie that we can. Mini Farmiga is the star of this one though, and she does one hell of a job at playing an ambiguously creepy teenager who may or may not be a sociopath Hellspawn of some sort; not that her character is Supernatural at all, but she's so creepy that we wouldn't be surprised if she had actually been born in Hell or something.

The "Mindscape" twist at the end was a nice touch too.

"But what does 'secret detention' mean, Professor?"
***SPOILERS*** Wouldn't Anna sending that picture to John at the end let her parents know that she's still alive, thus defeating the entire purpose of her "playing dead" to escape her parents grasp? Also, wouldn't the Police see from phone records that Anna called him right before he supposedly came over, broke in, killed her, and disposed of her body? Same goes for the pictures on his computer; any tech guy examining the files would be able to tell that they were all downloaded/uploaded at exactly the same time... a time which coincided with their therapy session, so, red flag! ***END SPOILERS***

Plot holes like that made the third act feel messy, as if the filmmakers were pressed for time and just said "screw it."

"Guess what I'm not wearing, sir?"
***SPOILERS*** If the Police thought that John had killed Anna, then how could they reasonably assume that he had time to hide a body between the time that she called, and the time that they arrived? It was mere minutes between her call, and their arrival, and the Detective even told John that they saw him on video chasing after her... A thorough search of the property -which would have absolutely been made for a missing, 16-year-old white girl from a wealthy family- would have turned up a body, and if it hadn't, where in the world could he have disposed of her corpse in such a short time frame? ***END SPOILERS***

Again, not a lot of common sense gong on there.

And of course, no one thought to check the yearbook...
 
Mindscape has very little in the way of blood and gore to offer; a nasty little tea party is about as close as this movie comes to being any sort of violent. Well, that and the memory flashback at the beginning.

There are actually flashes of some naked girls in one scene, but it was fleeting and mostly harmless.

We knew she wasn't all sweet and innocent!
As beautiful as Taissa Farmiga may be, she's equally as creepy. Also, 16-year-old girls are never to be trusted, as they're all insane.

She knows exactly what she's doing.
If you can forgive the clusterfuck of an ending, Mindscape is a really good and entertaining flick, and as we said above, it's one of those flicks that makes you feel all comfy while watching it. An interesting (if predictable) story, strong performances from the leads, and a creepy atmosphere all make Mindscape an above average affair. Just don't nitpick it too much and you'll be fine.

C+

Mindscape (Anna) is available now on DVD and VOD.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K5M7LSC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00K5M7LSC&linkCode=as2&tag=thehorclu0a-20&linkId=LAUFZR7PKAYFGHG2

Aaah, Mini Farmiga; young, hot, talented, and she hasn't even begun to take Hollywood by storm yet. That's coming though. Mark our words.

24 comments :

  1. But why was the girl in the photo with Anna named Julie Sanders in the yearbook, but she called her Mousey? Mousey was someone else named Kim something...however even if there actually was a Mousey the teacher and that Merrick girl said they didnt know her.... Im so confused.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was an excellent and complete review!. It took forever to find it, but that ending was buggin' me and you guys really did a great job dissecting it...

    Prof. Pooh

    ReplyDelete
  3. If I remember right, Anna put the nickname of Mousey on a different girls picture, to throw Johhn off track. "Mousey" didnt exist as Anna described her. It was all a ruse.

    IF I'm remembering it right :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Who the hell was the other person in the forest?? I'm actually so confused. I don't know, I expected an ending that would explain what actually happened rather than just unanswered questions and the murder set-up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The guy is Peter Lundgren, colleagues of John..

      Delete
  5. The other person in the forest was John's memory consultant watching his memories, just like he did with his own patients. The guy Noah Taylor played at the end.

    ReplyDelete
  6. How did Anna manage to escape the forest?
    What did the picture she sent him mean (besides that she is alive)?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I got the impression anna had the same abilities he had ... when he saw her outside her nurses house and again through the door, it was as he described 'from afar'.

    ReplyDelete
  8. John mentioned that a guy was following him to robert. If it had been a memory, John couldn't have remembered seeing the guy from mindscape there. That did it for me, how could he have incorporated the mindscape guy into his experiences?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You just hammered the biggest nail in this coffin! Film was good but made no sense.

      Delete
    2. well, the entire movie is that colleague of his watching his memories, memories as said in the movie are not to be trusted
      he is reliving those memories as if happening for the first time so that explains why he sees the guy following him and also why he sees her, she was at one point watching his memories too, that's how she found out about the water triggering his wife's suicide memory

      Delete
  9. What happened to the Merrick girl, she has a hole on her chest, and she seems to blame Anna for it, but what did Anna do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anna made u a lot of things to cover her tracks, but in the end, she did everything that she was accused of.

      Delete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So if Anna did Poisen those girls and she did push her nurse down the stairs what was her motive what did she gain from it. Was she actually sneaking out her house somehow and following John or was it his imagination, and why corrupt her plan by sending evidence that she was alive doesn't that just make it all pointless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't get why she would send the picture, but I assume that she liked John and didn't want him in prison.. Doing that she corrupted her plain, and the movie doesn't show it, but I bet that was enough proof for the police to free John and start looking for her, and that's why she was putting her sunglasses, to show she's "hiding".
      About pushing that woman.. I really don't know, I assume she's just evil.. and that's the same reason why she poisoned those girls and stabbed one of them..
      And at the end John was watching people living in his old house, the one he got courage and sold.

      Delete
    2. she was and sucessfully managed to make him trust her and only her, she made him suspect her step father, and even his boss...so
      that's the motive, the step father already knew she was a batshitcrazysociopath and wanted her in a mental hospital, she made him believe that everyone else was crazy except her

      Delete
    3. She push the one down the stair to get the key and give it to John.

      Delete
  12. And at the end: John's wife didn't kill herself?? Or it was a new family in his old house he was watching?

    ReplyDelete
  13. And at the end: John's wife didn't kill herself?? Or it was a new family in his old house he was watching?

    ReplyDelete
  14. I keep wondering who was the lady in red at the very beginning. When it shows his blonde wife in the bathtub.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it was one of john's clients. probably a case of assault he was working on befor anna's case.

      Delete
    2. probably one of john's clients. a case of assault he was working on befor Anna's case.

      Delete
  15. Interesting movie but they struggled putting it all together in the end.

    ReplyDelete