What is Hypnotic about? New Robert Rodriguez movie explained

Ben Affleck in HypnoticWarner Bros.

Hypnotic, Robert Rodriguez’s twisty new thriller starring Ben Affleck, has dropped in theaters – so, here’s what it’s about, who’s in the cast, and if it’s worth watching. 

Robert Rodriguez is never one to follow the rules, having carved a career for himself in the early days with his pulpy Mexico Trilogy, before venturing out into kids’ movies with the wildly successful Spy Kids series. 

More recently, he’s put his hand to the likes of The Book of Boba Fett and Alita Battle Angel – the latter of which may just be getting a sequel in the not-too-distant future

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As is the case with all of his projects, Rodriguez directed, co-wrote, and edited his upcoming movie, as well as taking on the role of co-cinematographer. But whatever your thoughts are about his filmography, you might want to leave them at the door with Hypnotic. Here’s everything you need to know about his twist-filled new thriller. 

What is Hypnotic about?

Hypnotic is a 93-minute feature film centering on Danny Rourke, a detective who is on a quest to find his missing daughter. But as he scratches the surface on the man he believes is connected to the case, Danny is sent on a mind-bending journey as he uncovers a secret organization made up of powerful psychics who can control people’s minds. 

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Check out the trailer below: 

The official synopsis reads: “Determined to find his missing daughter, detective Danny Rourke instead finds himself spiraling down a rabbit hole while investigating a series of reality-bending bank robberies where he will ultimately call into question his most basic assumptions about everything and everyone in his world. 

“Aided by Diana Cruz, a gifted psychic, Rourke simultaneously pursues and is pursued by a lethal specter – the one man he believes holds the key to finding the missing girl – only to discover more than he ever bargained for.”

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Hypnotic cast: Who’s in it?

The cast for hypnotic includes:

  • Ben Affleck as Danny Rourke
  • Alice Braga as Diana Cruz
  • William Fichtner as Dellrayne
  • Ionie Olivia Nieves as Minnie Rourke
  • JD Pardo as Nicks
  • Dayo Okeniyi as River

In an exclusive chat with Dexerto, Fichtner said: “Robert [Rodriguez] is one of these directors that I certainly wanted in my lifetime to get a chance to work with. The way in his style and vision of how he makes films – and then I’m reading the script, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, the combination of this story and Robert together.’ That was a fun ride.”

Braga, meanwhile, told us about how Rodriguez helped to guide the cast through the hypnotic scenes. “It was actually interesting to ask Robert the specificity of how he wanted us to play that,” she explained. “And he said, ‘Very simple, very subtle, nothing too big.’ So we kind of followed his lead in it more than trying to really portray someone going through hypnosis.”

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Is Hypnotic worth watching?

Though it’s too early for an audience score, Hypnotic has been handed just 40% from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes so far. 

In our review, we said that “an overstuffed plot and an emotionless performance from Ben Affleck” makes Hypnotic a far cry from Rodriguez’s best work. However, there are certainly some strong points, including a unique concept and standout turns from Braga and Fichtner.

Elsewhere, Deadline wrote: “When it was over, I had a realization that so much time was spent on collecting and processing new details that I forgot to enjoy myself.” 

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Digital Spy added: “It sure is entertaining though to watch a movie cling to the rails so much and never quite falling off into unwatchable territory, but also never being fully able to pull all of its parts together to fully work.”

Not all of the reviews are negative, however, with Variety sharing: “Taking a page from The Matrix, Limitless, and Memento – and whole chapters from sci-fi trickster Philip K. Dick – this slick mix of special effects and practical ingenuity puts Affleck in a fun position, and the slightly grizzled star’s still got the clench-jawed charisma to pull it off.”

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Hypnotic dropped in US cinemas on May 12, 2023, and will arrive in UK cinemas on May 26, 2023. In the meantime, check out our other TV and movie hubs below:

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