TL;DR – This is a fascinating mess of a film, more of a vibe than anything else.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to see this film
Hypnotic Review –
Sometimes a film comes out of nowhere with no press, no mentions, just all of a sudden, a Ben Affleck/Robert Rodriquez jam is in cinemas. Well, if nothing else, that fills me with intrigue, especially when I have no idea what I am getting into.
So to set the scene, Danny Rourke (Ben Affleck) is sitting in his therapist’s office wondering if he will be approved to return to duty. His daughter had been kidnapped, and even though the perpetrator was captured, there was no body. But as he walks out, his partner Nicks (J. D. Pardo) has a mission for him, Banks across America are being attacked, and no one knows how they are doing it. But as they arrive at the Bank of Austin, after a tip about security box 23, Danny sees a man (William Fichtner) walk up to people, say four words, and then they lose control of their lives.
While this film has a lot to try and parse, the central idea of Hypnotics living in the world was probably the easiest to parse. It is not so much hypnosis but more the active part of telepathy when you can change people’s minds. They used it well in the opening heist sequence and in some more horror elements, as they have one mission, which might include hurting themselves. You can never be entirely sure about what you are watching because you wonder if it is an illusion.
This is also a beautifully shot film. There are always interesting visual choices happening throughout the film. They could be using lighting to illuminate the danger, or finding the right car park with the right wall features to raise the tension in their design. The music and the editing are all fascinating and help combine together to create a vibe you can feel in the film. Ben Affleck and Alice Braga work well with each other, and William Fichtner is perfectly cast.
However, while some interesting concepts are being explored, and there is definitely a vibe that they are capturing, you could not help but feel that the film does not quite come together. Part of that is the odd accent they have gotten Ben doing, which could best be described as not-Batman or Bruce Wayne-lite. [SPOILERS] Also, much of the story is based on this hinge moment in the narrative at the end of the second act. While I liked that you can pick up that things are not right before this moment, it creates some awkwardness in the narrative before it happens. It also needs A Lot of explanation to try and make it work, which drags the pacing down. It also leads to a messy ending.
In the end, do we recommend Hypnotic? Ahhhhh, Wellll, Look. While many interesting things are happening here, it is also a real mess. I am not sure it ever entirely comes together, but it looks incredible as it flounders. If you liked Hypnotic, we would recommend to you Bad Times at the El Royale.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Hypnotic
Directed by – Robert Rodriguez
Screenplay by – Robert Rodriguez & Max Borenstein
Story by –Robert Rodriguez
Music by – Rebel Rodriguez
Cinematography by – Pablo Berron & Robert Rodriguez
Edited by – Robert Rodriguez
Production/Distribution Companies – Solstice Studios, Ingenious Media, Studio 8, Double R Productions, Ketchup Entertainment, Relativity Media & Roadshow Films
Starring – Ben Affleck, Alice Braga, J. D. Pardo, Hala Finley, Dayo Okeniyi, Jeff Fahey, Jackie Earle Haley & William Fichtner
Rating – Australia: M; United Kingdom: 15; United States: R