SxSW Reaction: HYPNOTIC (Work-In-Progress Edition)

One of the big screenings this year was Austin’s own Robert Rodriguez celebrating the 30th anniversary of his first movie, EL MARIACHI, with a work in progress screening of his latest picture HYPNOTIC. Note that this is touted as a work-in-progress, but in this movie buff’s opinion this seemed pretty final except for possibly a few visual effects changes.

ABOUT: A detective becomes entangled in a mystery involving his missing daughter and a secret government program while investigating a string of reality-bending crimes.

JASON’S REACTION: Ben Affleck stars in this Robert Rodriguez joint that is a far cry from his SPY KIDS, ALITA and visual spectacles and is more of a B-movie that you would just watch and kind of forget about on cheap ticket night or something to watch in the background on a streaming service. This sounds like an insult to the movie but it isn’t; HYPNOTIC is quite silly as it twists and turns, is very visually strong and has a lot of the Rodriguez edge of his earlier work which makes it very watchable, just not very memorable. As of right now it doesn’t have a distributor, but I am sure it will get a light theatrical release with Affleck being able to promote it, and a good streaming release down the road.

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies Robert Rodriguez in person at the Paramount Theatre at SxSW 2023. JW, photo

ANNA’S REACTION: Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez screened a work-in-progress version of his newest film starring Ben Affleck as a detective with a missing daughter. The film starts with a bank heist and a visit to the police station, which makes you think you might know where this film is headed. Yet it quickly becomes clear that “Hypnotic” is a twisty, turny, loop -de-loop mystery ride of a film. There’s even a secret government program involved!  Mysteries abound on this cinematic thriller in a world where everything may not be as it appears.

This film and many others like it will be showing at South By Southwest taking place March 10-19. For more information point your browser to

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