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  • Writer's pictureSteve

MK Ultra (2022)

"We knew damn well we didn't want anybody else to know what we were doing."

What Anson Mount did whilst waiting for Star Trek to kick in again. Strange New Worlds' Captain Pike stars as Ford Strauss, recruited by the CIA in the early 60s to conduct mind control experiments on patients at the Mississippi mental institution in which he practiced. The drugs were hallucinogenic, psychotic, illegal and untested, but the CIA wanted to know how to take advantage of them by testing them on unwitting civilians.

Despite its relatively short running time this leaps about from plot to pointless exposition and back to plot again like electric shock therapy, never sitting still for too long or readily explaining its actions. This is equal parts headspin and snoozefest, neither side winning out but both happy to play for a score draw.

If you spend any amount of time on the likes of YouTube you may have already come across the conspiracy theories about this very same subject, but just as many people suggesting that rational, forward medical thinking professionals believed that great strides were being made with similar types of drugs into treating a whole host of mental and neurological disorders. The difference, allegedly, was consent. This made no difference to the CIA at the time, however. They wanted a weapon that created the complete opposite of calm.

I'm afraid this is not what it states on the tin. Not about so much as the title. This is merely a study on one of the Doctors who signs up in good faith, hoping these treatments would aid the suffering of his patients.

The performances are fine, with Jason Patric a welcome addition but the whole thing feels directionless and largely without substance, despite asking a host of pertinent, albeit protracted, questions. This is largely dull overall, which is something of a feat given the subject matter and the short running time, yet it still somehow achieves it.


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