A detective investigates a mystery involving his missing daughter and a secret government program.

Starring Ben Affleck as another one of those world weary police detectives, ‘Hypnotic’ is a science fiction action thriller that never really gets off the ground. It’s directed by Robert Rodriguez, taking a break from making more ‘Spy Kids’ sequels, and tells the story of Detective Danny Rourke who is attempting to catch a mysterious criminal (William Fichtner) while dealing with the abduction of his daughter. Witnessing a bank heist in action where hypnosis seems to be involved, he becomes convinced that his daughter’s disappearance is somehow linked, setting him on a journey to uncover the truth.

Hypnotic’ is another post-‘Westworld’ science fiction movie that is a little too convoluted for its own good (see also ‘Reminiscence’ with Hugh Jackman), with plotting too dense to fully visualise to the audience so it is forced to rely heavily on exposition. That can work with the right performers but unfortunately Ben Affleck (after a good run of late) is at his wooden worst and Alice Braga, who plays the fortuneteller Diana Cruz, is not much better. It isn’t without its strengths, namely in a solid performance from William Fichtner who is almost always good value in these villainous roles, and a premise that holds moderate intrigue, but I felt it ran out of track long before the end and by the final act it had pretty much lost me.

Hypnotic’ is a mediocre thriller that never really works out how to build on a solid sci-fi premise, even as the pacing and twists ensure it is never boring. It hasn’t been marketed much and you can see why, with it feeling more like a film that in modern times you would expect to go straight to streaming.

Rating: 2/5

Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

Starring: Ben Affleck, Alice Braga, William Fichtner, J. D. Pardo, Hala Finley, Dayo Okeniyi, Jeff Fahey and Jackie Earle Haley


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