HYPNOTIC is a science fiction thriller starring Ben Affleck. Affleck plays Danny Rourke, a Texas police detective who finds a clue to the possible kidnapper of his 7-year-old daughter, who went missing three years ago. Danny found the clue during a violent bank robbery that seems to have been manipulated by a mystery man. Aided by a woman with special knowledge pretending to be a psychic, Danny simultaneously pursues and is pursued by the man, who has special hypnotic powers. The pursuit leads Danny down a rabbit hole into a shadowy world where things aren’t what they seem.
HYPNOTIC has multiple plot twists. The twists keep the suspense and action going, but they confuse a viewer’s sympathetic reaction to what’s real and what’s not real in the story. Also, the movie’s pro-family elements are marred by occult references to psychic practices and to advanced hypnotic abilities that can make other people see illusions and do bad things. HYPNOTIC also has strong gun violence with point blank shootings, a scene of implied fornication, and about 15 mostly light obscenities and one strong profanity.
(BB, OO, H, LL, VV, S, N, A, MM):
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong moral, pro-family worldview as a father tries to find and protect his special daughter, who’s been kidnapped and hidden, and, later, so does the mother when she eventually appears on the scene (the father was trying to protect the mother too), marred by strong occult references to psychic practices/abilities (some of these turn out to be a trick) and to advanced hypnotic abilities that make other people see illusions and do bad things, even things against their own self-interest, but the movie gives a vague biological origin to those abilities, in line with humanist, scientific naturalism
About 15 obscenities (mostly “d” and “h” words) and one GD profanity
Strong gun violence includes point blank shootings and gunfights, there’s some intense fighting and chasing, and a man rams his motorcycle through a shop window but just misses the two people inside
Implied fornication in one scene
Upper male nudity as man lies in bed
Brief alcohol use
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,
Alleged kidnapping, bad guys are after the hero’s 10-year-old daughter, deception, manipulation.
HYPNOTIC is a science fiction thriller about a police detective whose daughter disappeared three years ago but gets a cryptic clue about her possible kidnapper during a strange, violent bank robbery. HYPNOTIC has some crazy twists that keep the suspense going, but the movie’s pro-family elements are marred by occult references to psychic practices and to advanced hypnotic abilities that can make other people see illusions and do bad things, and the movie has some obscenities, one strong profanity and strong gun violence.
The movie opens with Detective Danny Rourke, an Austin, Texas policeman, discussing his daughter, Minnie’s, disappearance with a police department therapist. They were visiting a park, but Danny got distracted for a few moments, and she was gone. The police found a suspicious young man who was at the park that day, but the man remembered nothing. Minnie’s disappearance led to the breakup of his marriage, but Danny assures the therapist he’s fit for duty.
Danny meets up with his partner, River, and the two get a call about a tip that a bank robbery’s about to occur. They join the police stakeout at the bank. However, Danny grows suspicious of a mysterious man who talks to a woman on a park bench and then talks to two armored truck guards making a delivery. He leaves the stakeout van and follows the man into the bank.
The man talks to a teller and asks her to see a safe deposit box, but Danny steals a set of keys and beats the man to the box. Danny surprisingly finds a photo of his missing daughter with a hand-scrawled note, “Find Lev Delrayne.”
Gunfire erupts and the attempted robbery unfolds, with the mystery man seemingly manipulating everyone but Danny. Danny pursues the man through the city streets until he corners him on a rooftop parking structure. However, the man vanishes into thin air.
Danny tracks down the woman, Diana Cruz, behind the initial tip. Diana turns out to have a psychic reading shop. He interrupts her session with a biker, who’s protective of Diana’s safety. She assures him it’s okay, so he goes back outside to his bike. Diana seems to be the real deal, but, as she and Danny talk about how she got the tip, they don’t notice the mystery man talking to the biker outside. Suddenly, the biker is driving his cycle through the door, and Danny and Diana barely get out of the way.
Safely out of harm’s way, Danny describes to Diana what happened with his daughter and at the bank with the mystery man. She tells him a strange story that there are certain people in the world who can use their minds to manipulate other people, creating illusions and getting them to do things, even things against their own self-interest. She calls such people “hypnotics.”
With Diana’s help, Danny tries to track down the mystery man and the person mentioned on the photo, Lev Delrayne. Are they one and the same person? Does Delrayne know where his daughter is? The answer to those questions will lead Danny and Diana down a rabbit hole and into a shadowy world where no one and nothing is as it seems.
Writer/Director Robert Rodriguez (ALITA: BATTLE AGENT and SPY KIDS) says HYPNOTIC was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO. And, indeed, some of the music in HYPNOTIC recalls the great score of that movie. HYPNOTIC also may remind viewers of movie versions of some of Stephen King novels, such as FIRESTARTER and THE FURY.
However, instead of having one major plot twist like VERTIGO, HYPNOTIC has multiple plot twists. The plot twists keep the suspense and action going, but they also tend to confuse the viewer’s reaction to what’s real and what’s not real in the movie. As a result, some viewers may have a harder time than others sympathizing with the action and the hero.
That said, HYPNOTIC generates a lot of sympathetic emotion for its story about a father trying to find his missing daughter. Eventually, the girl’s mother comes on board to help him protect her.
The movie’s pro-family elements are marred, however, by occult references to psychic practices and to advanced hypnotic abilities that can make other people see illusions and do things. Some of the psychic practices turn out to be tricks, however, and the hypnotic abilities in the movie have a vague biological origin. HYPNOTIC also has strong gun violence that includes some point blank shootings, as well as about 15 mostly light obscenities and one strong profanity. Finally, there’s a scene where the camera cuts away as Danny and Diana go to bed together.
So, MOVIEGUIDE advises extreme caution.
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