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Home > Hypnotic (2023): A Review

Hypnotic (2023): A Review

A Bizarre Film Filled With Potential

A Flawed Yet Thrilling Film

Having originally started in the indie film world during the 1990s, director Robert Rodriguez was known for his grind-house style of filmmaking. Films like From Dusk Till Dawn, El Mariachi, and Desperado demonstrated the creativity Rodriguez had with lower-budget films, his films went on to make more than their budgets. His films began to drift away from the style that made him popular when he began doing studio projects, while still being able to produce quality films like Sin City and Alita: Battle Angel. With his newest film, Hypnotic, it feels like a merger between creative filmmaking and a bigger studio budget project, however, the film never reached its full potential.

Being an hour and thirty-two minutes long, the film pounds its foot on the gas and never lets up until the credits roll. This presents both positive and negative aspects of the film, as the film is constantly moving and presenting interesting twists, but never allows time to rest with the characters or story. Since the movie is constantly moving forward, the characters are hardly developed and the audience isn’t given a chance to sit with the story, making it feel undercooked in the end. Even though the film is flawed in many ways, the countless twists make for a fun ride that never grows dull.

Quality Actors For Inferior Characters

Ben Affleck leads the film which also stars Alice Braga, William Fichtner, and JD Pardo. All have shown their worth in other films and try their best with the source material they are given, but none of their characters are allowed to shine. Affleck’s character hardly has a character arc and has a very straightforward, stern personality, making it difficult for Affleck to demonstrate his range of acting. As mentioned before, the film is loaded with twists and turns that keep the story intriguing and moving forward, however, many of these revelations never felt as if they impacted his character. His character is incredibly dry and emotionless ultimately making it hard to find a way to connect with him.

The rest of the characters provide a mixed bag of quality. William Fichtner portrays the villain who is the standard boring, mustache-twirling villain, with his motivations becoming confusing by the end. JD Pardo comes across as too qualified for his role, portraying a one-note character who gives nothing to the film. Alice Braga is the only character who has any substance that made her interesting, but it takes a while for those traits to be revealed. While her character becomes the most interesting, she too feels underutilized by the end of the film.

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Derivative Yet Gripping Visuals

Despite the tedious characters, Rodriguez provides interesting visuals to portray the mind-bending nature of the story. Although Rodriguez claims to have written the film in 2002, many of the visuals and sequences feel too similar to modern films, such as Inception and Us. Since the plot is mysterious and meant to keep an audience guessing, the filmmakers were able to hint toward certain reveals within the visuals. Yet, the film doesn’t fully explain certain aspects that make some of the visuals perplexing when reflecting on them. For example, a chase scene contains an Inception type of visual with a city collapsing over itself that in retrospect, comes off more as trying to be a stunning sequence rather than an integral part of the story.

Overall Thoughts

Hypnotic presents an intriguing plot stuffed with countless twists and turns, with not all of them paying off in the long run. The movie introduces mysteries and questions right from the start, with some of the answers either not becoming satisfying or making no logical sense when compared to the rest of the film. Even with some of the inconsistencies, one’s enjoyment of the movie depends on the audience’s tolerance and ability to suspend disbelief of the logical issues and enjoy the thrill ride. Moving at a speedy pace, the movie never slows down and keeps introducing new elements that leave the audience guessing where the story is leading.

Hypnotic is currently playing in theaters.

Hypnotic 2023 Warners Bros Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Mason Kupiainen is a recent Butler University graduate with a degree in Creative Media and Entertainment. His work has been published in Butler Collegiate, The Mall, and Byte BSU. Along with written work, he has a videography portfolio with Indy Blue Video, Byte BSU, and Ball Bearings.