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‘Hypnotic’ Trailer Breakdown: Who Is Daniel Rourke? Who Are The Hypnotics?

From Robert Rodriguez, the director of “Alita: Battle Angel,” “Sin City,” “Machete,” “Desperado,” and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” among others, comes a mind-bending thriller almost 20 years in the making. The trailer of “Hypnotic” just dropped on Wednesday, and the first thought that comes to mind is it’s like “Inception.” Right? Not the concept but the outcome, from the looks of it, i.e., the inability to distinguish between dream [the unreal] and reality [the real]. But this film will have more than just that. Keeping in mind Rodriguez’s taste in action, of which we get a few glimpses in the trailer besides his earlier work, we can easily assume that the film will have effective high-stakes action sequences. It has been co-written by Rodriguez and Max Borenstein, who also wrote the screenplay for the MonsterVerse films and “Worth” (2020) along with Rodriguez’s son Racer Rodriguez.  

When detective Daniel Rourke’s [Ben Affleck] daughter Minnie [Hala Finley] goes missing, he has no idea how to go about his life. However, he knows that he has to get back to work. And it is in the middle of his next assignment, preventing a bank robbery, that he realizes that Minnie might have been abducted. He thinks that the robbers, led by William Fichtner’s mysterious character, are somehow connected to her disappearance. Thus, the search begins and so does the confusion. Daniel meets a woman named Diana Cruz [Alice Braga] who tells him that the mysterious guy is a Hypnotic, someone who can influence the brain, sound, voice, and even eyes to manipulate what we perceive as reality. What they show is what you see. The film will thus show how Daniel tracks down the mysterious robber and his team and brings home his daughter. Diana seems to know about the robbers and has decided to help Daniel track them down. It is possible that she has had a past with them which means that she is also hypnotic. Will she teach Daniel how to use hypnotism or will she teach him how to not give in to the mind games of the hypnotics? There is a moment in the trailer where Daniel asks Diana why he and his daughter are the ones who the hypnotics are after. So we can conjecture that Daniel or his daughter or someone else related to him is also connected to the robbers. And where is his wife? Is she dead, or is Daniel divorced? For all we know, she might have had a history with the robbers too, and now they are back for revenge.

Considering that the film will deal with hypnotism, the film might incorporate optical illusions to stress the ability of the hypnotics. Films like “The Prestige,” “Now You See Me,” and even “The Illusionist” have shown them, and we will absolutely love to see more of them. We do not see any illusion as such in the trailer other than William Fichtner jumping off a roof only to vanish into thin air. Perhaps a second one will reveal more about them and the plot too. Illusion brings in confusion so we will see Daniel make a lot of wrong choices and mistakes that will only raise the stakes higher. In an exclusive interview with Collider, director Robert Rodriguez addressed the film as an adrenaline-rushing “Hitchcock thriller”.

As for the cast, Ben Affleck may have laid his cape and cowl to rest but somehow, he hasn’t been able to give up his battle-worn detective persona. In “Hypnotic”, he picks up a badge as the protagonist, after a long time. Alice Braga, from “Queen of the South”, “I Am Legend”, “Predators”, and “City of God”, has proved her mettle as a great actress. Finally, we have the great William Fichtner (“The Dark Knight”, “Equilibrium”, “Black Hawk Down”, “Armageddon”, “Heat”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “12 Strong” and many more) as the antagonist who is perfect in all his roles. We have to hand it to the makers for their creative decision to pick Fichtner as a pro-hypnotic because he may have got us all hypnotized. The guy just doesn’t seem to age and even if he does, he ages like fine wine.

Although there is time for the film’s release [May 12, 2023], it’s screening at the South by SouthWest (SXSW) Film Festival revealed a post-credits scene, thereby hinting at a potential sequel. But again, it depends on how the film is received by the audience. The screening received positive reviews and Rodriguez is excited to have the whole world see his dream project, one he started working on in the year 2002. 20 years is a long time to improvise on a script and we can only hope that “Hypnotic” manages to hypnotize us without testing our patience. We believe in Robert Rodriguez.


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