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average rating is 2 out of 5


Brian Penn


Posted on:

Jun 15, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Robert Rodriguez
Written by:
Robert Rodriguez, Max Borenstein
Ben Affleck, Alice Braga, William Fichtner

Delving into the theatre of the mind may be an inviting proposition for many. With a multi-dimensional perception of reality and the power of hypnosis; it takes a skilful hand to put such ideas on the screen and actually make them work. Sadly, the mind games engineered by director Robert Rodriguez don’t quite come off.


Police detective Danny Rourke (Ben Affleck) is in recovery following a series of emotional meltdowns. He tells a therapist how the disappearance of his daughter Minnie led to the breakdown of his marriage. He is judged fit for duty and joins his partner on a stakeout. They are watching a bank when an unknown individual begins to instruct those around him.


A robbery appears to be progress but Rourke is drawn to a safety deposit box inside the bank. He finds a picture of his daughter with a simple message ‘find Lev Dellrayne’. Rourke pursues the assailant as mayhem surrounds them but somehow avoids his grasp. A series of mind bending events lead him to a psychic called Diana Cruz (Alice Braga). They have an immediate connection and join forces to find Dellrayne (William Fichtner), who they believe holds the key to Minnie’s disappearance.


The film has identity issues from the very beginning; is it a thriller, horror, sci-fi or psychological pot boiler; or perhaps a mixture of all four rolled into one. But it doesn’t succeed on any meaningful level and leaves the viewer wondering what the last 93 minutes have really been about. A challenging storyline is a refreshing change from the visual candy floss that is often served up. But Hypnotic is impenetrable with a series of twist and turns that make absolutely no sense. Reality and illusion is interchangeable and no amount of slick cinematography can save it.


Ben Affleck gives it everything (as do the entire cast) but even he doesn’t seem convinced by Rourke or the narrative. It’s undoubtedly well-made and brilliantly executed; but the same can be said of any film with a decent budget. So it leaves a largely shapeless mass of unanswered questions that can only annoy the viewer. There are one or two shocking moments that could make you drop your popcorn; but they are few far between in a piece that feels dangerously self-indulgent.

About the Film Critic
Brian Penn
Brian Penn
Theatrical Release
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