Feb 16, 2023
Web Exclusive

By Austin Trunick

Montréal police sergeant Kellen O’Reilly (Michael Ironside) has been having a rough go of it—not only is he newly divorced, but he’s been suffering through painful headaches brought on by patchy flashbacks with increasing frequency. He’s in the right place at the right time when he thwarts a robbery which he quickly figures out was a cover-up for a hit job—and leads him to start unraveling a conspiracy that crosses international borders. A mysterious piece of film could link his case to one being worked by his lawyer girlfriend (Lisa Langlois), who hopes to prosecute a dodgy doctor (Christopher Plummer) for performing mind control experiments for the CIA—and may even shed some light on O’Reilly’s own, forgotten past.

Mindfield (1989) is a tight little thriller from director Jean-Claude Lord (Visiting Hours, The Vindicator) and a team of writers who’ve had their hands in everything from My Bloody Valentine to Amityville Curse. Kellen’s trail leads him through so many memorably seedy locations, from a well-stocked porn shop to a mobster’s private day spa. The storyline is on the preposterous side of things—not every character needs to be linked through a decades-old government cover-up, really—but the movie swiftly threads together many tense and superb action sequences, from the initial pharmacy hold-up to a wild hostage situation inside the cavernous Olympic Stadium. While not a lost masterpiece, Mindfield is an entertaining piece of genre filmmaking—and one that’s boosted by the fine supplemental materials included on its new Blu-ray release.

Newly restored from the 35mm interpositive, Mindfield looks really nice in this special edition. Extras include a commentary by Canuxploitation scholar Jason Pichonsky, as well as interviews with Lisa Langlois (x2), writer George Mihalka, and writer-producer Tom Berry. Langlois discusses the impressive filmmakers she had the opportunity to work for in her early career, and the troubles she encountered acting opposite the cantankerous-sounding Ironside. The writers primarily talk about their efforts to adapt the film and move it into production, and a few fun details about working on an independent project in the late ‘80s—such as their pot-fueled writing sessions at a Caribbean beach house owned by their lawyer-turned-financier. These supplements provide an enlightening look at Mindfield’s production, and provide a lot of added value for thriller fans who are considering picking up this overlooked midbudget entry into the genre.


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