“A detective investigates a mystery involving his missing daughter and a secret government program.”

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Max Borenstein, Robert Rodriguez
Staring: Ben Affleck, William Fletcher, Alice Braga
Rated: R
Release Date: May 12, 2023

This isn’t the 2021 original staring Kate Siegel? Okay, carry on.

Robert Rodriguez needs a comeback. After the deplorable The Book of Boba Fett debacle, Rodriguez needs a win, and he needs it bad.

His shot at redemption is Hypnotic. A supernatural crime thriller that pins cop Daniel Rourke (Ben Affleck) against an unnamed serial bank robber and mad man played by William Fichtner. This is the third time that Affleck and Fitchner have been in movies together; Armageddon (1998) and Pearl Harbor (2001), but it is the first time that either have worked with Robert Rodriguez. Their chemistry will be important seeing how these two characters are at center of the mystery. Rourke’s daughter goes missing and all signs point to this mind-bending bad guy having something to do with the disappearance. Is she going to be a bartering chip for Rourke to have to do the bad guys bidding?

Joining Rourke on his heroic is Diana Cruz, played by Alice Braga. Cruz appears to be a gifted psychic herself so she has the tools to fight against this mysterious criminal mastermind. She is not susceptible to his powers, or at least we don’t see it in the trailer. We don’t see Rourke get brainwashed either, but that has to be a choice of the bad guy, right?

I have a hypothesis about Hypnotic. Are we sure that Cruz is real? There is going to be a major twist in this movie, and the fulcrum for its entertainment will depend on if it works. Perhaps she is a figment of Rourke’s imagination.

Robert Rodriguez compares Hypnotic to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and Vertigo (1958). Those are high bars to measure up against. What Hypnotic reminds me of is Jesica Jones. Yes, I am talking about the Netflix original Marvel show. The character played by William Fichtner appears to be a lot like Purple Man, or more formally known as Zebediah Killgrave. This man got off controlling humans and brainwashing them to do terrible things. David Tennant absolutely killed it in Jessica Jones and I don’t see anyway that Fichtner can measure up to him. Hopefully he can find a new path that brings a unique sense of creepiness and evil.

The main area of concern I have with Hypnotic is that it is being written by Max Borenstein. Now I am no screenplay writer so I know it is ridiculous for me to call him out. With that being said, Borenstein has only written for a few movies, and four of them are monster movies: Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017), Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019) and Godzilla vs. Kong (2021). Is this fair to be worried? Borenstein has written for other movies like Worth (2020) and Swordswallowers And Thin Man (2003), but those movies are not nearly as prominent. Hypnotic does not have any monsters, at least in a literal sense. As entertaining as monsters bashing each other can be, it is okay to admit the screenplay isn’t what’s being haloed when fans of those movies gloat. Rodriguez has a track record of success and he just needs to get back on the tracks. Borenstein has not left the station yet.

Hypnotic releases on May 12, 2023.

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