Watching Mark Strong is always a pleasure: You can fantasize about him being a brother of Jason Statham, with Stanley Tucci as their benevolent uncle. Think of the three of them at a table in an Italian restaurant, all wearing black suits.
Any director who opens a movie with a scene like that gets my vote. “Mindscape” (also released as “Anna”), however, is not that movie. That’s alright — I’ll live.
Strong is a key figure in this whodunit thriller but director Jorge Dorado doesn’t seem interested in deploying his strengths to full advantage. Strong plays John, a detective still recovering from his wife’s death, reluctantly taking on a case involving several deaths at a posh girls’ school. The prime suspect is the beautiful 16-year-old Anna (Taissa Farmiga), who has trauma and memory issues.
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Farmiga chews up most of her scenes while Strong can hardly keep up with her — he’s probably better utilized in a hard-action environment with no Lolita distractions. Too bad, since “Mindscape” sputters halfway through and winds up with all the usual symptoms of the older-man/young-girl dynamic. In other words, the guy is toast.
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