In director Robert Rodriguez's new thriller Hypnotic, Ben Affleck plays a cop faced with people committing a series of horrible crimes while under hypnosis. There's some promise in the premise, but the end result underwhelms.
Affleck plays Danny Rourke, a cop reeling from the disappearance (and presumed death) of his young daughter. He and his partner receive an anonymous tip from a psychic (Alice Braga) warning them of an upcoming bank robbery. When Rourke and his partner stake out the scene, they quickly realize they're watching a bunch of people hypnotized to act against their own will.
What follows is a lot of chase scenes with awkward exposition dumps thrown in the mix. Clunky dialogue can be forgiven if the action scenes are top-notch, but those scenes feel pretty perfunctory here. Action scenes in early Rodriguez work like Desperado and From Dusk Til Dawn had a kinetic energy to them that is lacking in Hypnotic.
The story borrows heavily from films like The Manchurian Candidate and Inception. A plot twist about 2/3 of the way through is at least a little interesting, but is not enough to salvage what preceded it. The final third also makes the film strongly resemble a moderately famous genre film from the mid-1980s (I won't list the title because it would essentially spoil the nature of the late plot twist).
Hypnotic at least does not overstay its welcome at a brief 93 minutes,
but it feels like a missed opportunity.