Hypnotic (2023)

Hypnotic (2023)

Hypnotic (2023)

Hypnotic was directed by Robert Rodriguez (Red 11, El Mariachi), written by Rodriguez and Max Borenstein (The Terror, Kong: Skull Island), and stars Ben Affleck (The Flash, Mallrats), Alice Braga (Kill Me Three Times, Soul), William Fichtner (Ultraviolet, Hot Summer Nights), Dayo Okeniyi (Emperor, Queenpins), Jeff Fahey (The Long Night, Maneater), JD Pardo (Mayans M.C., The Contractor), and Jackie Earle Haley (The Bad News Bears, Criminal Activities). It follows a detective as he searches for his missing daughter and soon falls into a much vaster conspiracy.

The Plot: A couple of competent writers and a cool – if not entirely creative idea can make a solid story for a genre film. Rodriguez and Borenstein have a good plot at Hypnotic’s core, but they don’t know when to quit. With the director’s usual disregard for the plot, it’s a surprise that there’s too much with little to show for so many words.

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Discussion and therapeutics haven’t helped much for Austin Detective Rourke (Affleck), as his daughter who went missing is still out there and he has nothing to show for it. Duty still calls though, so Rourke and his partner Nicks (Pardo) stake out the next target in a chain of bank robberies orchestrated by Dellrayne (Fichtner) via mind control. It’s an interesting idea that sets up a way for Rourke to find his daughter, whose photo he finds in a safe deposit box, to spiral downward with Diana (Braga), a fortune teller who tells the detective that she and Dellrayne are both part of a government group called “Division”.

People under Dellrayne’s control aren’t stopping until Rourke is dead, so he and Diana flee to Mexico to meet Jeremiah (Haley) who exposits more about the destination of Hypnotic. Working through the rules of the world is far less engaging than the world itself; while the ideas of “constructs” (artificial realities that “hypnotics” like Dellrayne can project) are able to split the film into subplots surrounding an investigation which the protagonists meet people knowledgeable about “Division” like River (Okeniyi) and Carl (Fahey), another where the main characters trace their quarry, and more, the script doesn’t stop adding new ideas and explaining them.

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