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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 26, 2023



BEN AFFLECK plays Rourke, a cop in Austin, Texas looking for his daughter Minnie who’s abducted while they are out in a park. 

 This is in “Hypnotic”, directed by Robert Rodriguez, best known for the “Spy Kids” and “Sin City” movies.

The film starts with him talking to his therapist then we see him going to a bank with his partner, Nicks (JD Pardo.) 

Outside the bank, he sees a stranger (William Fichtner) ordering people to follow his orders, including bank employees and policemen, and they obey him without any complaint. 

A caller says that a safety deposit box in the bank is the target of the bank robbers.

 He gets to it first and sees a photograph of his daughter with a message that says: “Find Lev Delirayne”, who turns out to be the mysterious stranger in the bank.

Rourke traces the caller to be a dime store fortune-teller, Diana Cruz (Alice Braga), who tells him that she and Delirayne are both former members of Hypnotics, a secret and shadowy government agency who collected powerful hypnotists that can control the minds of people for their own ends. 

Delirayne is the most powerful among them and it’s easy for him to make people to follow his commands. But for some reason, 

Rourke is not affected by such mind control. He and Diana now have to seek help on how to counter Delirayne’s next moves. And Rourke will soon discover much more than what he ever expects. 

“Hypnotic” has a story that is full of twists and surprises that play with our perception of what is real and what is not. It’s obviously intended to throw the viewer off course and it succeeds on pulling the rug on you.

It posits the concept of “hypnotic constructs”, in which the powers of the hypnotist can create alternate universes into which his unsuspecting victims are sucked. 

They just then obey all his orders and commands blindly, like what happened to a respectable looking woman who suddenly takes her clothes off when he tells her that the weather is boiling hot.

It’s all up to the viewers to buy or not its main promise of powerful hypnotics being able to control minds so easily. If you’re not willing to suspend your disbelief, then you certainly won’t enjoy it and may even find the movie silly and preposterous. 

In our case, we are willing to be taken for a ride and we like both Ben Affleck and Alice Braga, so it’s just fine with us. But early on, you should be suspicious of what you see on screen. 

It’s nice to keep on guessing about the mind-bending premise but it eventually causes some problems about the credibility of the characters, their relationships and even the murders that we get to see on screen.

What’s nice is that film runs for only an hour and a half and is quite fast paced, so the puzzle of a plot will not annoy you as it spirals to a series of surprises and with a finale that will surely confound you.

Ben Affleck has always had a likeable screen presence and he’s quite credible here as the baffled, world-weary hero who eventually gets to grasp the truth about his predicament and his own identity.  

Alice Braga, the Brazilian actress we enjoyed the most in the drug cartel drama series “Queen of the South”, is believable as a tough woman with her own intriguing story to tell. 

But it’s William Fichtner as the main villain who really gets to eat the scenery with his bad ass and enigmatic role.