Saturday 13 April 2024

Movie Review: Hypnotic (2023)

Genre: Fantasy Mystery Thriller  
Director: Robert Rodriguez  
Starring: Ben Affleck, Alice Braga, William Fichtner  
Running Time: 94 minutes  

Synopsis: Austin Police Detective Danny Rourke (Ben Affleck) is still traumatized by the unsolved kidnapping of his young daughter. Danny and his partner Nicks (J.D. Pardo) respond to a tip about an impending bank robbery and experience the immense mind control powers of the evil Dellrayne (William Fichtner). Danny seeks the help of fortune teller Diana Cruz (Alice Braga), and starts to believe Dellrayne's crime spree is related to his daughter's disappearance.  

What Works Well: Director and co-writer Robert Rodriguez creates a mélange of ideas borrowed from movies like The Matrix, Paycheck, Inception, and Firestarter. The outlandish episodes are initially layered with the emotions of a distraught father and quizzical enough to maintain some interest. The start of the third act briefly threatens a step-up in storytelling quality.

What Does Not Work As Well: The rules of engagement in a world of hypnotists capable of instant mental domination are too fragmented and inconsistent to ever make sense, exposing the first hour to an embarrassing volume of incredulousness. The flicker of hope that emerges with a premise reset is quickly extinguished with an avalanche of over-the-top antics, late character non-introductions, and the convenient piling-on of additional on-the-fly parameters. 

Conclusion: Beware the foundation-free constructs.

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