The problem with Jorge Dorado’s debut feature Mindscape is that in the three years since Nolan’s Inception, a whole slew of lesser imitators have unfortunately avalanched over any possibility of this film being considered as any kind of unique take on the memory/dream infiltration sub-genre. Which is a shame because his first is an accomplished and highly enjoyable piece of film with a pretty sharp script from first time writer Guy Holmes, its simply still just a little too fresh in the cinematic memory to be taken as particularly unique. Saying that, even amidst the slew of lesser Inception imitators, Mindscape can hold its own with enough to spare.
John (Mark Strong) is a memory detective, able to access people’s minds in order to piece together the reality behind crimes. When he is hired to help a troubled but brilliant young girl (Taissa Famiga), John begins to suspect he has stumbled into a troubling network of false memory and manipulation where his career might not be the only thing on the line.
Dorado is no newbie to the biz, having performed assistant director duties on numerous films (The Devil’s Backbone and Bad Education for a start) and filmed many of his own shorts, this experience shows. The consummate skill with which this- almost dismissible- thriller is executed gives it a foothold above other alike features. Visually, the film never quite sheds the Inception palette, utilising Pfister-esque spaces of urban minimalism with keen colourful details.
Alongside the eloquent filmmaking, Dorado’s stellar cast lend credibility to Holmes’ script ensuring the films dumber points don’t sink the boat. Mark Strong fans will be pleased to see the underdog talent in a lead role, showing off the ease with which he can carry both screen and story. Alongside Strong, veteran performers Brian Cox, Indira Varma, Noah Taylor, and Richard Dillane all work well with what they have but short-comings in script stop them from ever really punching as high as Strong. Saying that, the script is at its sharpest when Famiga and Strong share the screen ensuring that Famiga’s age in no way inhibits her from keeping up with Strong’s resolute talent.
Mindscape isn’t anything to write home about unless you’re particularly interested in the sub-genre, or you enjoy watching Mark strong at the top of his game. However, Dorado’s skill behind the camera is not to be underestimated and will hopefully carry on in a more individual direction.