The original screenplay for Hypnotic was written by Robert Rodriguez way back in 2002. Had it been released shortly after that time, I’m sure it would have felt a lot fresher and more interesting than it does now. However, aside from the occasional glimmer of something decent, it now feels instead like it borrows from a bunch of other movies, all of which have been done so much better. And its leading man sadly does little to improve things either.
Ben Affleck stars as Austin detective Danny Rourke. When we first meet him, he’s recalling to a therapist the events surrounding the abduction of his seven year old daughter, Minnie, several years ago. The abduction continues to haunt him, particularly as it also led to the breakdown of his marriage. After a text message comes through from his partner Nicks (JD Pardo), they meet up outside the therapists office where Nicks updates Rourke on an anonymous tipoff that’s just come in. Apparently, a certain safe deposit box at a nearby bank is about to be robbed and Rourke and Nicks both head there to meet up with the rest of their team in the stakeout van. There they observe a strange man (William Fichtner) approaching the bank. He says something to a woman on a nearby bench, causing her to believe she is overheating, then heads inside where he also appears to be able to command bank employees using simple voice commands.
Rourke decides to take matters into his own hands and quickly gains access to the safe deposit box before the mysterious man can get there. Inside the box he finds a picture of his missing daughter with the words “Find Lev Dellrayne” written on it. Desperate for answers, Rourke chases the man to a rooftop, where he watches him command two police officers to shoot each other before he jump over the edge of the building, only to seemingly disappear.
Later, Rourke learns the identity of the person responsible for the tipoff, a fortune teller named Diana Cruz (Alice Braga). Rourke pays Cruz a visit, interrupting one of her fortune telling sessions with a client, and asks her about the man at the bank. But their meeting is suddenly interrupted by Diana’s client, who is now under the control of the mysterious man. He drives his motorcycle straight through the shop window in an attempt to hit Rourke and Cruz, before killing himself in front of them. Rourke escorts Cruz back to the station where she tells him that the man from the bank is called Lev Dellrayne and that she and him are both “Hypnotics”, hypnotists from a secret government organisation known as “Division” with the ability to control the minds of others. When Nicks walks in and attempts to kill them both, it’s clear that he is under the control of Dellrayne, who will obviously stop at nothing to get to Rourke and Cruz. They decide to flee to Mexico in order to try and find some former associates of Cruz who will hopefully help them in stopping him.
I actually really liked the look of this from the trailer, although I couldn’t help but feel that there was something about it that screamed trainwreck. I thought the early setup of the story and everything surrounding the bank heist was intriguing and I was definitely interested to see where it was headed after that. Unfortunately though, the execution and delivery of much of what happens from then on just wasn’t so good. I said at the start of my review how this feels a lot like a bunch of different, better movies, and Inception is one that has been mentioned by other reviewers, which is a shame considering this was originally written before Inception came out. There are a couple of scenery shifting effects in Hypnotic, similar to those in Inception. Only these just looked as though they were done using a Snapchat filter on a mobile phone.
My main issue though was actually with Ben Affleck, who seemed completely disinterested throughout the entire movie. I guess that’s understandable to a point, when you consider the crappy hand his character has been dealt. But even when his situation changes later on, he’s still behaving the same. To be fair, I felt pretty disinterested for a big chunk of the movie too, but there are certainly moments that I did think worked well and some twists along the way too, including a big one that you may or may not have guessed earlier on already. It’s certainly not a complete disaster, but I was definitely expecting better from this.
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Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.