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A mind twisting movie with more twists than a pretzel is what you get when Director Robert Rodriguez and Ben Affleck team up. Hypnotic often feels like a greatest hits compilation of sci-fi brain-teasers. The film resembles a Memento, Inception, Dr. Strange, and Marvel’s Jessica Jones – Jenga blocks puzzle interspersed with some liberal dose of The Adjustment Bureau. First act reveals dive deeper down the rabbit hole than expected. A shotgun pace never pauses long enough to process WTF moments. That’s not bad; it’s just rushed. But that’s understandable because the plot thickens as it progress.

In his therapist Nikki Dixon’s office, Austin PD Detective Daniel Rourke (Affleck) sits troubled. He closes his eyes and remembers a tragically haunting moment for him again– an afternoon at the playground with his young daughter Minnie (Ionie Nieves) takes a devastating turn when he looks away briefly only to realize that Minnie is missing… Her case sparks news headlines when a suspect is found…

Daniel returns to work distressed. He’s put on a strange assignment with partner and dear friend Nicks (JD Pardo). An anonymous caller has tipped law enforcement off to a bank robbery later that day… Also she has even specified that they are going after one safe deposit box… Money isn’t their aim… The skeptical cops lie in wait for the crime…

Daniel sits in a surveillance van monitoring the situation. At first blush everything seems just fine; but he notices an elegant man (William Fichtner) whispering softly to some unknown woman and security guards who have changed afterwards; therefore Daniel deduces that all of them must be participants in this crime. Breaking protocol and entering the bank, against Nicks’ advice, Daniel makes another mistake by defying orders from headquarters that could cost him his job if caught or worse still get himself killed! What he finds in the box rattles him to the core. Daniel meets an adversary of evil with a scary ability. His search for answers leads him to a local psychic. Diana Cruz (Alice Braga) says they must run immediately or face certain death.

Hypnotic lives up to its title, Special individuals have the gift of mind control, “Hypnotics” create “constructs” that are completely immersive, some Hypnotics are better than others, but it can be trained into becoming more powerful… Everything you see and hear could be an illusion! The power of persuasion and mental manipulation cannot be stopped!

Dellrayne (Fichtner), on the other hand is simply cut from the same wicked cloth as Kilgrave in Marvel’s Jessica Jones. He commands and slaughters without impunity… Dellrayne’s warped reality takes a visual page from Doctor Strange and Inception. Various characters try to escape from his clutches as buildings shuffle like cards… Nothing actually changes, but the mental barrier becomes a prison.

Thus, Daniel must uncover why his daughter was kidnapped, Dellryane’s part in this conspiracy as well as what he ultimately wants. Rodriguez also co-writes by dropping breadcrumb clues that constantly reframe the narrative… The film is reminiscent of Memento where one finally makes sense out of everything only to find out that it could all be false and just another layer within another layer…

A fire hose delivery prevents any immediate analysis of the labyrinthine plot while Hypnotic keeps you guessing. Further dissection will require repeat viewings. A thoroughly knotty yet immensely captivating movie is what you get here. Stick around for a surprising mid-credits whopper!

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