Mindhunter: The Lives of Children Matter
is a television series recently offered by Netflix, directed by a select
group of directors including David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network), Asif Kapadia, Tobias Lindholm and Andrew Douglas. Based on the book Inside FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by Mark Olshaker and Andrew Douglas, the
series tells the story of two FBI agents: Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench ( Holt McCallany), who join forces to get to the bottom of a
bizarre criminal phenomenon: the profile of murderers who break all stereotypes. Set at the end
of the seventies, with brilliant script writing and cinematography, Mindhunter brings together the optimal elements to become one of
the most successful and controversial series of the year.
In effect, Netflix has scored again, presenting a story whose central drama
is bound to strike a chord with a wide audience devoted to the genre of
police suspense, giving in the current trend to deal with strongly transgressive themes.
The main storyline revolves around the origin of the psychological deviations that incite criminality
, all of them framed in a harsh context of family abuse. This idea is
crudely captured in the first few episodes of the series with a host of
jarring images, but not only for the sake to show morbid scenes. The
well-constructed narrative takes the viewer down the difficult path of
human psychology. The viewer is often challenged to dare to think and draw
his own conclusions about the “resources” of the interior life of the human
being, that is, to find the reasons for our behavior. The dialogues between
Holden and Bill, both of them involved in the emerging division of the
sciences of human conduct of the FBI, are also challenging. Making use of
their criminalistic expertise, the investigators gradually reveal
the mysterious theme of the murders in question. It is worth noting that
the drama displayed in the series is intensified by the existential
perplexity that the viewer is meant to experience in witnessing the realism
that is projected by the criminal mind and its roots in one of the greatest
existential themes: that of feeling loved.
The series is made up of ten episodes, in which both agents, Holden and
Bill, grow to have an honest understanding about the criminal mind through
interviews with each of the notorious murderers in the series. These
criminals never fail to mention a reoccurring theme at the core of their
dysphoria: family crisis. It is evident that each of these sordid
figures was lacking the attention and affection of their parents throughout
their lives. Without any reservations, mention is made of certain
ideologies such as radical feminism, male chauvinism, drugs, sexual
promiscuity, individualism, domestic violence, and the loneliness of
children. The stories are disturbing, although real. Perhaps within this we
can find the ulterior motive of the series: an invitation for parents to
reflect on their family duties, in the midst of a society that applauds
selfishness, leaving behind the classical notion of adulthood, which in
essence consists of knowing how to take care of others. In the middle of
this heart-breaking plot, the most difficult human dilemmas are examined
and the worst version of the human being shows itself with all its cruel
effects. In light of this, it is evident that cowardice and indifference
cannot be options in a world that demands heroism and sacrifice of all
members of society.
In conclusion, Mindhunter removes the blindfold from the viewers’
eyes and reveals major cultural and familiar tribulations, following a
similar pattern of series like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, In Treatment, Shameless, and Dexter, in which
-Paolo Braga comments- the figure of the father as an antihero
stands out, although in this case his absence in family life is exalted.
Also, the series explains quite plainly, with a scientific focus, a
principle that up to now had not been taken seriously: the lives of children matter.
: The series presents sexually explicit scenes, nudity, and harsh language.