27th Sep2014

‘The Hypnotist’ DVD Review

by Nicky Johnson

Stars: Tobias Zilliacus, Jonatan Bökman, Helena af Sandeberg, Mikael Persbrandt, Lena Olin, Oscar Pettersson, Anna Azcárate, Jan Waldekranz, Eva Melander | Written by Paolo Vacirca | Directed by Lasse Hallström


Joona Linna (Tobias Zilliacus) is a Swedish CID officer investigating the murder of a gym teacher and his family. With no DNA or fingerprints, his only witness is the youngest child of the family, Josef (Jonatan Bökman), and he’s currently comatose and seriously wounded. Josef’s doctor, Daniella (Helena af Sandeberg), suggests using disgraced doctor/hypnotist Erik Bark (Mikael Persbrandt) to tap into Josef’s subconscious and find out what he saw. Reluctantly, Erik agrees, but soon finds his family the target as well, and the case becomes darker and more urgent.

The Hypnotist sounds like a good movie. It’s not. It’s a movie that has a half decent premise and squanders it on incredibly tedious scenes. There’s also very little focus on the actual hypnotist in this movie, and the idea that he’d be called up so quickly and that a CID officer would jump at the chance to use him was bizarre considering he was banned from doing anything like this again. Linna himself is a pretty plain character; typical work-to-hard cop absolutely sure that his instincts are 100% correct. In fact, there’s very little excitement in any of the characters or indeed most of the film.

So where did they go wrong? Well, it’s just over 2 hours long and boy do you feel it. There seemed to be very little in the way of any investigation work done by anyone, apart from two very brief interrogations, a small interview, and some scenes of cops around a table stressing because it just doesn’t make any sense. Dialogue was almost permanently monotonous, and while the film picks up a bit in the third act it’s almost redundant because you’ve either switched off or fallen asleep.

The Hypnotist could’ve been a pretty good movie. Instead, I needed fresh air and a strong coffee to wake me up from the lull I was forced into, missing the sight and feel of snow shown throughout the film.

** 2/5

The Hypnotist is out now on DVD from StudioCanal.


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