‘The Mimic’ is an unwelcoming witty movie about a man’s ridiculous obsession with his neighbor who’s apparently a sociopath.
Directed by: Thomas F. Mazziotti.
Starring: Thomas Sadoski, Jake Robinson, Austin Pendleton, Gina Gershon, Jessica Walter, M. Emmet Walsh, Marilu Henner, Tammy Blanchard, Didi Conn, Matthew Maher, Josh Pais, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Doug Plaut, Steve Routman, Teddy Coluca, Vanna Pilgrim.
Country: United States.
Running time: 82 minutes.
It’s hard to imagine what was going through Thomas F. Mazziotti‘s mind as he was writing The Mimic. The film itself has this sort of meta wink that takes us through a valid discussion about character motivation, and their consequent acts. But being this self-aware should not redeem or allow the director to over complicate his own movie with a blatantly philosophic conflict that seems to go nowhere.
When credits surprisingly appeared and the film was over, I had more questions than before. Not questions about the purpose of characters, but about the intent of who was behind the adaptation of something so poorly justified. I have to admit I chuckled a few times with The Mimic‘s intelligent and savvy style of dialogue, and poignant interaction of characters.
However, as a whole, it’s hard to position the film as a pleasant time at the movies. I understand comedy as a genre can be tough but at least one must recognize the necessity of engagement.
Falling into a story that had already begun.
In The Mimic, there’s a backstory that isn’t told. A screenwriter forms a relationship with his neighbor upon learning he’s working for a local newspaper. In their first conversation, The Narrator believe The Kid is a sociopath. He’s certain about this, but the film doesn’t explain where he draws his suspicions from. Next, The Narrator goes to the library to research about sociopaths to see if he can identify some traits when he goes to dinner with The Kid.
A very weird dinner date, a horrible accident, an unsettling encounter in a hospital will be enough to draw conclusions about the strange behavior of someone very close. A final encounter lets them be honest with each other, finally clearing the field for some confessions. Is it relevant? Do we care? I insist, where’s the engagement?
The film could have done much more to connect with a very lost audience. It’s hard to comprehend the story that wants to be told by a director who’s clearly fit to form smart and swift dialogues, but whose foray into the comedy genre is more cryptic than funny. The Mimic goes back and forth in amusing conversations between two characters that clearly have a story to tell. It’s just the approach that doesn’t let them get out of an overbearing atmosphere of dialogues that seem to come from a hybrid of Groucho Marx and Sigmund Freud.
The uncomfortable feeling of misused and valuable resources.
With a fantastic cast at hand, Mazziotti tries to give everyone a spot without developing much of their presence. In the film’s riskiest moment, M. Emmet Walsh plays an important role that goes unnoticed. An outstanding Jessica Walter is almost sacrificed in a very thin scene involving a group of ladies that try to agree on stories appearing on a newspaper.
But most of all, there are two good actors in the center of a movie that does nothing out of their performances and complicate them in unclear roles. I understand some ideas can make great stories and some writers translate them into logical adaptations. The Mimic is inspired by true events. This, one of the film’s prominent resources, just highlights a pattern of comedy that just feels uncomfortable.