Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Renny Harlin|
|Produced by||Cary Brokaw
Robert F. Newmyer
|Screenplay by||Wayne Kramer
Ehren Kruger (uncredited)
|Story by||Wayne Kramer|
|Starring||LL Cool J
Jonny Lee Miller
Clifton Collins, Jr.
|Music by||Tuomas Kantelinen|
|Edited by||Neil Farrell
Paul Martin Smith
|Distributed by||Miramax Films (US)
Columbia Pictures (non-USA)
Mindhunters is a 2004 American-British crime thriller film directed by Renny Harlin and starring Jonny Lee Miller, Kathryn Morris, LL Cool J, Patricia Velásquez, Clifton Collins, Jr., Christian Slater and Val Kilmer. It was written by Wayne Kramer and Kevin Brodbin (with an uncredited rewrite by Ehren Kruger). Unusually, the last country to receive this film was the United States in 2005, because of the film's distribution rights being changed from 20th Century Fox to Dimension Films.
The titular Mindhunters are a group of young FBI students who are undergoing training as profilers. They travel with their instructor Jake Harris (Val Kilmer) to a small island off the coast of North Carolina to complete a profiling exercise. During an investigation, J.D. (Christian Slater) dies after triggering a mechanism that causes a tank of liquid nitrogen to freeze him instantly.
The students include Bobby (Eion Bailey), a young man with a talent for fixing things; Vince (Clifton Collins Jr.), a wheelchair-using ex-cop who goes nowhere without his gun; Nicole (Patricia Velasquez), a smoker who is attempting to quit; Sara (Kathryn Morris), a talented but insecure profiler who is also petrified of drowning; Gabe (LL Cool J, listed as James Todd Smith), an outside observer; Rafe (Will Kemp), a very intelligent, caffeine-powered British investigator;
Convinced that J.D.'s death is not part of the training simulation, the group heads to the dock to leave the island. However, the boat explodes after someone plants a bomb.
At first, suspicions seem to point to Gabe, as Lucas (Jonny Lee Miller) found maps and documents of the island just before everyone was knocked out by the coffee. This continues when everyone awakes. He temporarily deflects these suspicions when he saves Vince from another trap involving broken water pipes and lights electrocuting the water. Sara, meanwhile, finally deduces that the traps are based on their strengths, talents, and weaknesses and the remaining profilers elect to stick together, to keep an eye on each other. Nicole becomes the next victim to die after she smokes a cigarette laced with acid.
Unexpectedly, the island's speakers begin to broadcast a taunting message from Harris, making them realize that he did not leave the island, though he led the profilers to believe that he had; convinced that Harris has been the killer all along, the remaining profilers search for him. Vince refuses to join the search party and stays behind at the lab. Sara, Gabe and Lucas find Harris and two other FBI agents next to him, all dead; Harris has been strung up to wires from the ceiling as a sort of marionette, just like the fake crime scene that they were to investigate. Vince finds himself trapped in a freezer after he tries to reload his empty gun, but he escapes. Vince dies after his gun backfires on him in the elevator. Gabe ambushes Sara and tries to kill her, while trying to become a sociopath, and wonders how and why she joined the Bureau.
Lucas, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, returns and jumps Gabe from behind. Both of them get into a fight. Sara hits Gabe over the head with a fire extinguisher. The clock has since been adjusted by the killer, and the powder will tell them who the killer is. Sara finds the marking powder on Lucas' hands instead of Gabe's. Lucas confesses that he killed his parents and has been seeking more thrilling targets to kill through the rest of his life, leading him to join the FBI and plan to kill his brilliant fellow profilers. Lucas tries to drown Sara, but she manages to kick him into the water.
Lucas begins to taunt her about the evidence he planted blaming her until Gabe reappears: he is the last witness. In a last desperate effort, Lucas attempts to regain his weapon, forcing Sara to kill him, shooting him through the top of the head as he bends down to retrieve his weapon.
- LL Cool J as Gabe Jensen
- Jonny Lee Miller as Lucas Harper
- Kathryn Morris as Sara Moore
- Patricia Velásquez as Nicole Willis
- Clifton Collins, Jr. as Vince Sherman
- Eion Bailey as Bobby Whitman
- Will Kemp as Rafe Perry
- Val Kilmer as Jake Harris
- Christian Slater as J.D. Reston
- Trevor White as Attacker
- Cassandra Bell as Jen
- Jasmine Sendar as Jen's friend
- Anthonie Kamerling as Man in bar
- Daniël Boissevain as Man in bar #2
Wayne Kramer sold the original spec screenplay of Mindhunters to 20th Century Fox. The title of his screenplay was originally called Unsub (Unknown Subject), but Fox executives preferred the title Mindhunters and changed it right before the deal was announced to the entertainment press. Kramer never felt comfortable with the title change because there was already a non-fiction book by John Douglas called Mindhunter.
Renny Harlin was originally attached to direct the film adaptation of A Sound of Thunder based on Ray Bradbury's short story, but left to helm this movie instead. Gerard Butler was set to the play the role of Lucas Harper, but dropped out to star in Timeline. Ryan Phillippe was also considered for the part, before Jonny Lee Miller eventually signed on. Phillippe's then-wife, Reese Witherspoon, was offered to play Sara Moore, but she turned it down and Kathryn Morris was later cast. Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen and Gary Busey were all offered the part of Jake Harris, but they rejected the film before Val Kilmer agreed to do the movie.
Mindhunters was filmed entirely in the Netherlands. Locations included Amsterdam-Noord, The Hague, Amsterdam, Delft, Radio Kootwijk, Veluwe, Gelderland, and Zandvoort. Post-production of the film was moved to England to decrease the budget. Filming and production went from January to September 2002, yet the film was not released until 2004 (2005 in the USA). During the editing process, Harlin toned down much of the violence, in order to secure a PG-13 rating in the United States, yet the MPAA felt that the overall tone of the film was too dark and still issued it an R; following this Harlin reinserted the deleted scenes.
The film was a box office letdown, making only $21,148,829 against a production budget of $27 million.
Mindhunters received generally negative reviews; it currently holds a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the consensus states: "A retread of Ten Little Indians that lacks the source material's wit." On Metacritic, which uses an average of the critics' reviews, gives the film 33/100, indicating "generally unfavorable" reviews.
Roger Ebert, of The Chicago Sun-Times, gave Mindhunters 2½ stars; his last lines stated "I will leave you with only one clue. In "House of Wax," which opened last week, the movie theater is playing "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." In this movie, the theater marquee advertises "The Third Man." No, the male characters are not numbered in order, so you can't figure it out that way, nor is the killer necessarily a woman. So think real hard. What else do you know about "The Third Man"? If you have never seen "The Third Man," I urge you to rent it immediately, as a preparation (or substitute) for "Mindhunters."
- Mindhunters at the Internet Movie Database
- Mindhunters at AllMovie
- Mindhunters at Box Office Mojo
- Mindhunters at Rotten Tomatoes
- Mindhunters at Metacritic