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Ben Affleck Unlocks His Mind

May 17, 2023


Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for Hypnotic.

As it turns out, the key to the mystery facing Ben Affleck’s troubled detective Danny Rourke in Robert Rodriguez’s Hypnotic was far more simple and straightforward than he could have ever realized. Had the character taken a page out of the life of the actor playing him by seeking out a Dunkin’ Donuts to ponder everything that was going on sooner, this film would have been a whole lot shorter and he would have discovered the truth was really there all along. This is because there might not have been such an establishment to even find as the world the film gets lost in is not, in a manner of speaking, real. In case it wasn’t already clear, this piece is going to spoil everything that happens from beginning to end. If you haven’t yet seen it, read our spoiler-free review and then come back when you’re ready for the truth.
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The truth is that this film is essentially a riff on a whole litany of science fiction stories from Inception to The Matrix series. To cut right to it, as gets spelled out in abundant detail, Danny was in a state of hypnosis for almost the entire runtime. Not only was he not a detective, but there was also no mystery that he was trying to solve. He didn’t even leave the chair that the secret society of hypnotists had trapped him in. The reality was that he and his wife (Alice Braga) had wiped all memory of their past lives in order to protect their daughter. They did so because this organization had wanted to use her power, which she gained from being the daughter of two hypnotics, to gain further control of the world. Her parents wanted to hide this away from them, but they would not give up so easily. Thus, they created the world of the film that is basically a compound that stands in for all the locations the story takes us through. The plan has been to use this to trick the hypnotized patriarch into telling them where his daughter is, but it has failed each time. That they keep trying to do something which keeps failing proves to be a grave mistake as he breaks free and leads them all into a trap of his own.

RELATED: Where to Watch ‘Hypnotic’: Showtimes and Streaming Status

Affleck Is Just A Sad Dad Looking For His Daughter
After managing to snap himself out of hypnosis by using a note he wrote himself that helps him remember the address where his daughter has been hiding out for years, the man we once thought was a detective steals a car, pushes aside a couple of golf carts, and hits the road. He won’t get away that easy as the other hypnotics are hot on his trail. They travel by both helicopter and car to where he is going, getting there shortly after he does. When they arrive, they all find Minnie (Hala Finley) awaiting them. It is clear that all the talk of her being a powerful hypnotist soon proves to be correct as she wreaks havoc on the people that have held her father hostage. The red suits that all of them were wearing soon become soaked in blood as Minnie makes them shoot each other. This seemingly also extends to the head baddy, played by an underutilized yet still menacing William Fichtner, who had been the one orchestrating all of the events of the film. While all this was going on, Minnie has a mind-meld moment with her mother and the three of them go off into what promises to be a happy life. However, in a mid-credits scene, we see Fichtner enter back into the fray as his character had used hypnosis to make it seem as though he was dead before disguising himself as another.

Rodriguez Is A Silly Guy Making A Silly Sci-Fi Movie

So what does this all really mean? To be candid, not a whole lot as the film mostly aspires to be a thriller that just wants to play around with some genre elements while also throwing in trippy visuals for good measure. Considering Rodriguez himself called the film “a Hitchcock thriller on steroids,” there isn’t much to be taken too seriously here. It is abundantly cheesy with a committed cast all chewing on lines that feel like they were lifted from other action films. While it takes a more sentimental turn into being about family and the lengths we would go for them, it does so with an emphasis on the spectacle of the hypnosis at the core of the story. This goes to such extremes that it is basically a superpower where anything is possible. With the combination of a piercing stare and encouraging words, reality itself can be warped.

The only real thing to delve into is how much it feels like it is basically Inception in reverse or the concept that was initially introduced at the beginning of how dreams could function. Rather than being about planting an idea in someone’s mind, this film was about taking the idea someone was trying to hold onto. Is it as deep in how it explores this? Not even a little. Is it quite a bit derivative of that and other works? You bet. Is there still something fun to it despite its flaws? Absolutely. Still, when putting these two films side by side, it is clear that they use similar visual trickery to achieve vastly different ends. By the time we get to the close of Hypnotic, everything is explained so thoroughly that there is no real ambiguity or potentially complicated questions left unanswered. There is no top left spinning for us to ponder as Rodriguez instead leaves us with what could be read as either a playful potential tease for a sequel that may never come or just a cliffhanger that will be left dangling all the same.

Hypnotic is in theaters now.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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