In this segment of our Colossus Movie Guide for Hypnotic, we delve into the significance of the film’s title.
- Danny Rourke – Ben Affleck
- Diana Cruz / Vivian – Alice Braga
- Minnie – Hala Finley
- Dellrayne – William Fichtner
- Nicks – J.D. Pardo
- River – Dayo Okeniyi
- Carl – Jeff Fahey
- Jeremiah – Jackie Earle Haley
- Written by – Robert Rodriguez | Max Borenstein
- Directed by – Robert Rodriguez
Why is the movie called Hypnotic?
“Hypnotic” is an adjective form for “hypnosis”. If someone is under the influence of hypnosis, they’re said to be in a hypnotic state. This can extend casually to the idea of something being mesmerizing. You might describe a striking sunset or a binge-worthy TV show as hypnotic, as these things can put someone into a bit of a trance.
Hypnotic is actually Greek for “sleep” and the official classification for sleeping pills that include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepines, and quinazolinones.
As a title, Hypnotic primes the viewer for some kind of story relating to hypnosis, manipulation, and sleep. This is similar to the use of Insomnia for a 2002 Christopher Nolan thriller that takes place in a nightless Alaska where a detective can’t sleep. Both films lean into a dream-like quality and aesthetic in their mise-en-scene, combining form and function between the visuals and the narrative.
The extra layer in Hypnotic is that the story redefines the word as referring to people, trained by a government division, who have developed incredibly powerful mind control abilities through hypnotic constructs and suggestions.
At the beginning of the film, we believe the use of “hypnotic” will refer only to Ben Affleck having to battle an antagonist with hypnotic abilities. But, after the twist, we realize there’s a lot more to the title than it first seemed. Especially with how it relates to Affleck’s character.
You could also start to make an argument about reading the title through a frame of government and its population. With Ben Affleck’s Danny Rourke representing the everyman and the idea of people waking up to the hypnotic effects we’re under and seeing things for how they are rather than how the government wants us to see it.
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