Hypnotic feels very much like a film that fits right in with the late ’90s renaissance of thrillers. This time, it doesn’t star Michael Douglas though. It’s a Robert Rodriguez-directed/written film starring Ben Affleck. If that doesn’t catch your attention, then a mind-bending plot surrounding hypnotists, government conspiracies, and some excellent performances will.
As the movie goes on, the layers peel back farther and farther. What Hypnotic stars off as, is nowhere near what it ends as. That journey through the film is really what brings Hypnotic up. Besides Affleck, it stars Alice Braga, JD Pardo, Dayo Okeniyi, William Fichtner, and features smaller roles for Jackie Earle Haley and Jeff Fahey.
The story here is deceptively simple.
A detective investigates a mystery involving his missing daughter and a secret government program.
Affleck plays Danny Rourke, a detective trying to find out who kidnapped his daughter. Through that investigation, he runs across Dellrayne (Fichtner), a man who can hypnotize people with just a couple of words. That power and a “bank robbery” leads Rourke to a safety deposit box with a picture of his daughter and a cryptic message. Another hypnotist, Diana Cruz (Braga) pops up along the way, teaming with Rourke to hunt down Dellrayne.
What follows is a mind-f*ck of a movie all the way until the credits roll.
Hypnotic isn’t your traditional Robert Rodriguez film in the way of Mariachi or From Dusk Till Dawn. It has his signature elements, particularly in the action scenes, but it’s him trying new things with his style. It’s pretty refreshing to see a director that’s been working for this long, add some new wrinkles to their filmmaking style.
As for the performances in Hypnotic, Ben Affleck is excellent throughout. He plays the sort of everyman put into a crazy situation well. It feels a lot like a throwback to action/thriller stars of the past. The rest of the cast has to tackle some more wordy jargon filled-dialogue about the hypnotists and government programs. Some of them handle it better than others. Alice Braga does a great job as our introduction and guide through all of this government conspiracy stuff.
William Fichtner is pitch-perfect in his role as Dellrayne. There are some subtle things that Fichtner adds to this performance. He plays a wicked hypnotist that makes people do some pretty messed up things to get what he wants.
One Too Many Twists And Turns Drag Hypnotic Down
Without spoiling anything, Hypnotic does well with a plot that takes plenty of twists and turns, but it might have one too many twists and turns. It goes the mystery sort of ‘Hitchcock’ route but adds on some extraneous things that drag the third act down a bit. It doesn’t sink the film, but audiences might be confused with the level of complexity going on.
Outside of that, Hypnotic is a fairly typical thriller that stands out because of the current film climate we’re in. We don’t get too many movies like this one these days. Hypnotic might not be a revelation in the genre, but it gives you exactly what you want, especially with a star like Affleck and a director like Robert Rodriguez.
Hypnotic releases in theaters on May 12th
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