By Eric Campos | March 5, 2002

I rarely ever exclaim anything out loud while watching a film alone at home. I mean, what if the neighbors were watching me through my window? What would they think? Well, the second the opening titles for “The Hypnotist” faded away, I let out a big “WOW”. Anna Biller and crew have managed to impeccably recreate the look of old glitzy Technicolor movies complete with vividly costumed sets and actors. The actors also deliver their performances in a very 1930’s type of acting style. Try as hard as I could, I couldn’t look past the visual presentation of the film to see it as a production from 2001. This completely looks like the real deal. That’s why it’s such a shame that the film is more sleep-inducing than a Jerry Lewis telethon… and it’s a lot shorter too, that’s quite a feat.
The Cooke siblings, Charles, Beatrice and William, have been left with a massive inheritance from their dead father. Thing is, the three estranged sibs need to live together for the rest of their lives if they want to be able to keep their hands on the money. Enter Dr. Schadenfreude, a psychiatrist hired by Charles to help take care of their ailing mother who’s gone a little off her rocker…at least, that’s what Charles tells everyone the doc is there for. He really hired the doctor to pronounce both of his sibs as insane, so that he can get them out of his hair as well as the bank account holding the inheritance money. It doesn’t take much to push William over the edge as the religious nut was heading in that direction anyways. So all that leaves is Beatrice. The doctor decides to hypnotize the woman and while under his spell, will proclaim her own insanity.
The hypnotism is a ssssllllooooowww process. The scene between the doctor and Beatrice is extremely dry and just plain boring, even with the unique acting and look of the film. This scene sets the pace for the rest of the interactions throughout the film as characters decide to talk to themselves, God or paintings. I don’t mind a lot of jabbering in films, but the jabbering in this one is very unexciting. Interesting dialogue alone could’ve kept this film from being so sleep inducing because the story is there, nice and simple, and the look is astonishing. Oh well. Another one bites the dust.

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