August 2019 offered some interesting insights into serial killer minds on Netflix.
Mindhunter (Season 1) [7/10]
Mindhunter (Season 2) [6/10]
David Fincher is known for some pretty dark movies, like Se7en, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that Mindhunter focuses on serial killers, too. After Zodiac already tackled the investigation of a very mysterious case that had held the public and police in thrall over decades, the first season of this TV show brings even more notorious serial killers into the spotlight. By showing how the FBI slowly build up their profile division that wasn’t taken seriously at first, it can almost be seen as a documentary. Interviews with people like Edmund Kemper feel real thanks to some stellar acting performances, while the dialogues are well-written, too, probably because they are based on the actual reports. However, despite presenting a few other investigations, the show suffers from an engaging overarching storyline, which isn’t helped by a condescending main character.
The second season of Mindhunter makes the mistake of every TV show: spending too much time on characters’ private lives. Leaving behind an interesting investigation and even not explaining many things might seem mysterious, but simply makes for some pretty bad storytelling. As almost each episode of Season 1 had a new interview with a serial killer, the concept already feels old and predictable. So what better way than introducing a potential serial killer who doesn’t come out into the open. Or maybe he does or did? Playing with the audience’s expectation is one thing, but doing this for two seasons without providing any sense of suspense until the finale is quite another. Of course one wants to continue watching the series, as it ends with a bang and also does a good job of showing how frustrating police/FBI work was back in the days when one couldn’t use DNA samples for convicting suspects. Hopefully the next season won’t feel as long as this one did.
I’ve been a big fan of David Fincher’s movies, but I still have mixed feelings about this crime show, as it offered some great acting and interesting ideas, although the whole thing would have worked better in one feature. We’ll see about that in the next season… whenever that will be.