It would be safe to say that there would have been no Mindscape had there not been the success of Christopher Nolans Inception (2010) and its theme of people venturing inside the dream space of others. Mindscape/Anna is one of several films that came out copying Inceptions ideas, along with the likes of Vanishing Waves (2012), Real (2013) and Incarnate (2016). This substitutes therapists venturing inside patients memories instead of dreams but remains similar in all other respects, excepting perhaps its lack of conceptual ambition in terms of having characters engaged in heists on multiple levels of dream. Mark Strongs hero, just like Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception, also comes haunted by issues concerning his dead wife.
Mindscape is certainly well cast, even if some of the worthwhile names among the line-up Brian Cox, Saskia Reeves, Indira Varma are only there in nothing supporting roles. Mark Strong has slowly gathered a presence over the last few years and turns out a fine, intently driven hero that seems to naturally draw sympathy to him. Opposite him is Taissa Farmiga, who came to attention in various seasons of tvs American Horror Story (2011 ). She gives a performance that impresses with its intelligence and playfulness. Around her, the film creates an ambiguous sense of both sympathy and distrust. The scene where Mark Strong interviews her for the first time, where every exchange between them seems charged with loaded meaning, bodes well.
On the other hand, Mindscape seems poised to do something interesting with its set-up only never does. Unlike Inception or any of the other dreamscape films, you are never drawn into what is happening during the journeys into inner space, which is what a film like this should be doing. Jorge Dorados direction is far too mannered. Most of the turnings of the plot are the routine mechanics of thriller contrivance that crucially take place in the outside world concerning who might be involved, who is lying, whether Taissa Farmiga can be trusted and so on. The science-fictional potential of the memory detective is one that the film displays no interest in beyond using it to springboard off into its thriller elements. Much of the show falls apart at what seems a contrived effort to create a twist ending that fails to come off, before a resolution that seems largely stolen from Body Heat (1981).