Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
A detective investigates a mystery involving his missing daughter and a secret government program.
Robert Rodriguez has always been a somewhat mysterious director for me, as I can’t figure out if I am a fan or not. He absolutely has his hits, and the first Spy Kids film is one of my childhood go-to movies. When it comes to his more recent filmography, other than enjoying Alita, nothing has hit. It doesn’t feel as if he is growing as a filmmaker. He is definitely taking risks and attempting to encounter different genres, but risk-taking can only get you so far. Hypnotic is less of a risk and more of a hodgepodge of various films to come before. The obvious comparison is Inception, but this also feels heavily influenced from Fincher’s work, as Ben Affleck is essentially playing a detective in Danny who is also trying to solve the mystery of his lost daughter. The beginning is interesting because it combines this intrigue with the mind-controlling antagonist played by William Fichtner, and his villain is fairly harsh in the beginning.
If the characters weren’t consistently spouting out exactly who everyone is and why we are in every location we visit, this movie had a good chance of winning me over (eventually). The script constantly gets in the way of any good idea presented, and the visuals are clearly inspired by other recent science-fiction films, except this movie looks much cheaper. As it progresses, the story spirals out of control and inevitably ends up in nonsense territory. Characters become aware of random abilities, the mystery itself is so utterly confusing, and there are so many subplots that mean nothing to what viewers will care about. Oh yeah, Ben Affleck is in this one by the way. The argument could be made that he’s sleep walking here, but as a big fan of Ben, he still manages to play someone who is easy to get behind. It is an absolute mess from a narrative standout, but Rodriguez occasionally delivers on an action-packed scene or moment. The overarching concept shows promise, but the intricacies of how Hypnotic is presented become laughable at a point. It will easily be in “so bad its good” territory for many.
🔙White Men Can’t Jump❗️Embargo❗️