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Hypnotic borders on stupefying
Justin at the Movies

Hypnotic is paradoxical in its execution. At best, it's intriguing yet mediocre. At worst, it's ridiculously baffling. 

Ben Affleck stars as Danny Rourke, a police detective dealing with the abduction of his daughter. At the beginning of the film, he's trying to stop a bank robbery perpetrated by a criminal (William Fichtner). 

Rourke believes that the criminal has a connection to his daughter being kidnapped and so he enlists the expertise of a fortuneteller (Alice Braga). However, Rourke gets more than he bargained for when he discovers the fortuneteller is known as a Hypnotist and she's been trained by a secret government program that can control people's minds. 

Together the two of them head to Mexico where the fortuneteller meets up with her mentor (Jackie Earle Haley). He tells them that the criminal is searching for a dangerous weapon called Domino, which serves as this movie's MacGuffin. 

The movie directed and cowritten by Robert Rodriguez, who made the Spy Kids and Sin City movies, and just like those films, he once again demonstrates a talent for hi-tech audacity, but he also tends to want to threaten to overstuff this vehicle with either too much plot or too much action. As for the action, it's just a series of cliched chases, shootouts and explosions that we could see done more and better from a dozen other films. 

According to Hypnotic, I think the movie is trying to fit in the vein of a Christopher Nolan film, but unlike Nolan, Rodriguez unsuccessfully leads his characters in a maze where both they and us are not sure if there is a satisfying way to get out. I'm not sure I could pass a test on this movie. Hypnotic would be better if it had a much more stronger, coherent structure to its screenplay and less on setting up a chaotic, frenetic and jarring tone. 

Affleck seems determined to give this character the depth he thinks it deserves, but each time he makes a discovery, it ends up being befuddling and we're right there with him. 

If the movie relied more on assembling a much logically consistent story and less on being disorganized, the movie would've had me under its control. 


Grade: C+

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