Arriving in UK cinemas on Friday 26th May, is the sci-fi action thriller, Hypnotic. The movie – directed and co-written by Robert Rodriguez – stars Ben Affleck, William Fichtner, and Alice Braga, and tells the story of a detective who finds himself on a perplexing case, while coming to terms with the disappearance of his daughter.
In the film, police detective Danny Rourke is in therapy following the abduction of his young daughter, Minnie. Minnie was kidnapped while she was at the park with Danny, and he has never forgiven himself for losing her.
One morning, following a difficult therapy session, Danny is called out to a case involving the theft of a safety deposit box at a bank. The police have received a tip off the crime will take place today, and Danny and his team set up a stakeout.
During the stakeout the team witness a mysterious man giving instructions to civilians and bank staff, which appears to influence their behaviour. This same man also knows who Danny is, and knows about the disappearance of his daughter, which is even more concerning.
Could this man have been involved in Minnie’s abduction and could his ability to influence minds have anything to do with it? These are questions Danny asks himself as he becomes caught up in a case which proves to be far more important than a bank robbery.
Borrowing ideas from a couple of episodes of The X-Files, as well as Christopher Nolan’s Inception, Hypnotic is a so-so sci-fi picture which is fine enough, if nothing fantastic. The movie has some OK ideas, and the execution isn’t terrible, but it lacks the right punch needed to sell the story and this means it falls rather short in places.
The main issue seems to be the film plays very much like a pilot for a television series, rather than a big blockbuster movie. There is a fair bit of exposition, the central premise feels better suited to a TV format, and I can’t for the life of me figure out where the movie’s budget went.
Hypnotic cost $65 million to make, and yet it feels like it should be a much cheaper movie. Wherever the money was spent, it’s difficult to find it on screen, especially considering the limited number of special effects and the movie’s minimal cast.
On the plus side, Ben Affleck is decent in the lead role as troubled detective Danny Rourke, and William Fichtner provides Hypnotic with a suitable villain. Neither actor delivers their greatest work in the film, but they do the best with the material they are given and are completely fine.
Hypnotic is also relatively short, which is another plus point. The opening act moves fairly swiftly, the film doesn’t drag on too much, and this ensures the mystery elements of the story don’t wear thin.
However, despite a couple of saving graces, Hypnotic is never anything other than ‘watchable’. The film is certainly nothing exceptional, nor is it particularly original, and this means it all feels a bit underwhelming.
Hypnotic was released a couple of weeks ago in the US, and while the movie is still on general release over there, it’s fair to say it has flopped hard on that side of the pond. Hypnotic has struggled to take back even a fraction of its budget at the box office, and I can’t see it fairing much better over here.
Although, I do feel it’s important to add that Hypnotic‘s failure overseas is possibly down to its disastrous marketing campaign which is pretty much non-existent. If I wasn’t reviewing a new Ben Affleck movie today, would you even know one was hitting cinemas this week? I expect not.
The film appears to have been pushed out with little thought or consideration for its audience, sandwiched in between big titles such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Fast X and The Little Mermaid, so it’s not much of a surprise it is struggling. The fact that it is a fairly middle-of-the-road movie isn’t helping things either.
Not terrible, but not amazing, Hypnotic is a mildly diverting film which can help pass 90-minutes, but that’s about it. If you’re an Affleck fan then you may wish to check it out, but it isn’t one of his best, and it certainly isn’t director Robert Rodriguez’s finest hour.
I expect Hypnotic will fare better on streaming, which feels like a more suitable fit, but as with Hugh Jackman’s overlooked 2021 sci-fi thriller, Reminiscence, this movie will come and go quite quickly. Although, you really shouldn’t feel too bad if you do miss it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review on It’s A Stampede!. For more reviews, check out the recommended reads below.
Leave a Reply