More than just a state of mind

Mick Ferris

Hypnotic (15, 94 minutes)

Robert Rodriguez channels Christopher Nolan (in half the running time) for this completely mental tale of mind manipulation with more twists than a Twizzler.

But even if this action thriller comes across as a bit of a poundshop Inception, Hypnotic is an enjoyable piece of hokum as grief-stricken Texan detective Danny Rourke (Ben Afleck), still grappling with guilt years after the abduction of his daughter from under his nose, comes up against a mysterious adversary, played by William Fitchner, who appears to possess the power command us normos to do his bidding and apparently knows something about the missing, presumed dead, child.

However, nothing is as it seems.

With the help of a shopfront psychic (Alice Braga) the pair seek answers while trying to avoid their mind controlling nemesis who, it transpires, is from a government division which has trained people in mind control.

A brief appearance by Rorschach from Watchmen (Jackie Earle Haley) certainly lifts the proceeding a notch as if Afleck and Braga realised on that day of shooting that they were in the presence of the real deal.

Now for the problematic part. Even as director, co-writer and editor, one would think that there would surely be someone other than Rodriguez who would have read the screenplay or even seen the daily rushes and suggested at some point that some of the dialogue maybe needed a tweak here and there.

For instance: “You look like you need a drink” is not something you say to Afleck even if he is in character. Then there’s: “A hypnotic has power there is no word for,” – err.. yes there is, you just used it missus. Construct is also a big no no if you want to avoid unfavourable Matrix comparisons.

Yet if you can put those things aside, or even take some perverse pleasure from their embarrassing awfulness, Hypnotic is just long enough to let the story breathe and short enough not to overstay its welcome.

RATING: 7/10


Mick Ferris

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