Movie Review: Hypnotic (Rodriguez, 2023)

Hypnotic Review
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Movie: Hypnotic

Production Companies: Solstice Studios, Ingenious Media, Studio 8 Productions, Double R Productions

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Producers: Mark Gill, Guy Botham, Liza Ellzey, Jeff Robinov, John Graham, Racer Max, Robert Rodriguez

Scriptwriters: Robert Rodriguez, Max Borenstein

Main Cast: Ben Affleck, Alice Braga, J.D. Pardo, Hala Finley, Dayo Okeniyi

Release Date: May 12th 2023

Running Time: 94 minutes

Certificate: 15


What’s the opposite of a slam dunk? Well, this film. Despite boasting a talented cast, just look at Ben Affleck and William Fichtner, a decent premise and a good director, Hypnotic came off like a bootleg Christopher Nolan film. Only without any of the subtlety or refinement that make his films great. Basically, imagine if you told a group of uni students to make a Nolan film and you’d end up with something like this. I guess there’s a SPOILER warning in place. Anyway, enough dunking on the film for now as here’s the synopsis.


Hypnotic follows a police detective, Danny Rourke (Affleck), as he attempts to reconcile his life after losing his daughter, Minnie (Finley). But what Rourke discovers instead is a massive rabbit hole filled with hypnotists and constructs that attempt to break his mind further. Down this rabbit hole, he finds his wife, Diana (Braga) and Lev Dellrayne (Fichtner) , a master hypnotist with a very weird obsession with Minnie. Anyway, if you’re wondering why I’ve massively simplified the synopsis it’s because at points even I didn’t have a clue what was going on. Like I think the most memorable part of the plot was the name Lev Dellrayne which is very stupid. Anyway, enough with the synopsis here’s the analysis.


Ben Affleck’s Performance in Hypnotic

Well I guess the best way to start off the analysis is with Ben Affleck’s performance as Danny Rourke. And when compared to Air, it’s a night and day performance. Mostly because by the end of the film even Affleck seems like he’s over the film. And considering some of the dross Affleck’s been in, that shows you how boring the film is. But back on topic, Affleck does at least put a semi decent performance in. If you were awake to see it, the scene where Rourke finds out that Diana is actually his wife.

Here, Affleck does manage to inject some much needed emotion into the film which does help this scene out. Honestly, this is a continued theme through the film. It mostly involves Affleck attempting to drag something redeeming out of the film which will ultimately lead to nothing. Anyway, I’m sure his pay check was worth it and it bears mentioning one more time: if your lead actor looks relieved that the film’s over that is never a good sign.

The Narrative in Hypnotic

Well, this is going to take some unpacking. Without a shadow of a doubt, one of Hypnotic’s biggest problems is its narrative. Remember how we all sort of love Inception and how it’s revered as one of Nolan’s best films? Well, imagine Inception if it was made by students with no exposition or too much exposition. Take for example, the scene where Diana is explaining to Rourke about hypnosis and its effects. Here, so much information is thrown at the audience, like the film as a whole, it’s really difficult to take in.

Oh, and if the audience were still awake by the end of the film the ending really just confuses everything further. Like how was Dellrayne able to make himself into a copy of Rourke’s stepdad without anyone noticing? And all of this is taking place in another hypnotic construct with the villains all being shot at. Even Christopher Nolan looks at that and doesn’t have a clue what’s going on. It’s an absolute mess which is a shame for such a promising premise.

Pacing in Hypnotic

Unfortunately for Hypnotic, the only thing that’s worse than its story is the pacing of said story. Really it feels like you’re in a car but every 10 minutes the car randomly stops. Take for example, the scene where Rourke pursues Dellrayne out of the bank. Despite the editing being shocking, it’s still a dynamic sequence with a good hook when Dellrayne jumps off a building and disappears. Sidenote, not only was Fichtner a terrible Shredder but also when did he become hypnotic Batman? Anyway, after this the film screeches to a halt with a scene so heavy with exposition Rodriguez may as well be on screen telling the audience what’s going on.

And then it speeds back up again as Rourke shoots his partner and goes on the run with his wife. Only for the film to slow down in a bar only for it to escalate again when Dellrayne and his men hunt Rourke through a train yard. Honestly, the stop start nature of the film is as much of a headache to the audience as the lack of a cohesive narrative. Well that’s if the audience is still awake throughout the film….


To summarise Hypnotic, this is a film with good intentions but fails to meet even the low expectations people had for it. Despite all the best efforts of the cast, Hypnotic will probably be remembered as what happens when you ask ChatGPT to write a Christopher Nolan film. 

Overall Rating: 4.5/10 – Below Average

Target Audience: 15+

Content Warning: Mild Sex and Nudity, Moderate Violence and Gore, Mild Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking, Moderate Frightening and Intense Scenes

Recommendation: No