Sunday 4 June 2023

REVIEW: Hypnotic (2023) - Starring Ben Affleck & Alice Braga

Review by Jon Donnis
A new Ben Affleck film is out, and apparently the studio releasing it forgot to do any marketing at all. Meaning that no one knew the film was coming and hardly anyone has bothered to go to the cinema and watch it, meaning it has bombed at the box office. But should you make the effort to watch it? Read on to find out.

In the therapist's office, Danny Rourke (Ben Affleck), a detective from the Austin Police Department, recounts the haunting memory of his seven-year-old daughter, Minnie (Ionie Olivia Nieves), being abducted, a tragic event that ultimately led to the dissolution of his marriage. Deeply affected by this traumatic experience, Danny seeks solace in therapy.

Shortly after his therapy session, Danny is joined by his partner, Nicks (J. D. Pardo), who shares an important development with him. They have received an anonymous tip-off call indicating that a safe deposit box at a local bank is going to be targeted by criminals. Determined to prevent the robbery, Danny and Nicks embark on a stakeout near the bank, keeping a close eye on any suspicious activities.

To their astonishment, they witness a mysterious man (William Fichtner) issuing unheard instructions to civilians, bank employees, and even their fellow policemen. Surprisingly, everyone seems to unquestioningly obey his commands, allowing him to effortlessly enter the bank. Intrigued and alarmed by this strange phenomenon, Danny's curiosity is piqued.

Driven by a mix of concern for the safety of the people inside the bank, Danny rushes to the targeted safe deposit box. There, he discovers a photograph of his beloved Minnie, accompanied by a chilling message: "Find Lev Dellrayne." Confusion and anxiety consume him as he tries to make sense of the enigmatic message and its connection to his daughter.

With newfound determination, Danny resolves to track down the mysterious man, who now occupies the forefront of his investigation. Their pursuit takes them to a rooftop, where Danny witnesses a harrowing scene unfold before his eyes. The man effortlessly manipulates two police officers, compelling them to turn against each other, resulting in a tragic exchange of gunfire. In the chaos that ensues, the enigmatic man manages to escape, leaving Danny both enraged and determined to bring him to justice.

Now, burdened by the weight of his personal tragedy and fuelled by a burning desire for answers, Danny Rourke sets off on a relentless quest to find the elusive Lev Dellrayne (William Fichtner), hoping that doing so will unravel the mysteries surrounding his daughter's abduction and ultimately bring him closure.

Now I have deliberately not gone too far into the plot here, because to do so would give away too much.

Although the film is called Hypnotic and pushes Hypnotism as the main story plot point, it is not hypnosis, at all, it is psychic abilities. It does seem strange that they called the film Hypnotic, since no one is hypnotised in the classic sense of the word, they are controlled through people with psychic powers.

Anyway, this is ultimately a film about a father trying to reunite with his kidnapped daughter, due to the nature of the film, there are a LOT of twists and turns, and even by the mid credit's scene, you will still not be totally sure what is real and what is not. The story although not particularly original, is well told though, and when you get the first major twist, you will find that you are quite far into the film. And that will instantly have you questioning everything and everyone.

Both Ben Affleck and Alice Braga put in strong performances. Alice as fortune-teller Diana Cruz, is a likable character, who is a major part of what is real and what is not.

This film has a relatively large budget, and as such everything looks great, the tension building music is perfect, and the visual effects are spot on.

And at 85 minutes it has the perfect run time for a thriller. Really easy to watch, the film flies along at a great pace, and by the end you will want to watch it again, to see if you missed any clues.

The Good
Well made, well filmed, well-acted, Hypnotic is a good film deserving of your attention.

The Bad
This film was doomed to fail from the start due to the lack of marketing, I just hope that over time word of mouth will help the film grow its audience.

A thoroughly enjoyable action thriller, with a great cast and decent story.

I score Hypnotic a strong 8.5/10

Out in cinemas now and on digital at