After an absence of 24 years, director Lasse Hallström has returned to Swedish cinema with his cinematic adaptation of The Hypnotist, a novel by Lars Kaplan. It marks Hallstrom's debut in thriller after a career in Hollywood where he mostly directed more sentimental stories that did very well at the box office. It is also the first time that the director participates in the San Sebastian Film Festival.
In The Hypnotist, the savage assassination of a family in their home in Stockholm gives rise to a police investigation that, from its outset, feels complicated because of the strange circumstances surrounding the case. The lack of clues lead judicial commissioner Joona Linna (Tobias Zilliacus) to ask for the help of a hypnotist, Erik Maria Bark, played by a magnificent Mikael Persbrant, to question the only survivor, a 15-year-old boy admitted to hospital in a state of shock, and to try to find his sister who has disappeared. The investigation takes an unexpected turn when Bark's son (Lena Olin) is kidnapped, giving rise to a complicated plot that follows the patterns and themes of the genre's Nordic novels that have become so famous around the world over the last few years.
Hallström succeeds in creating a powerful, dark, and cold visual style and an unsettling, murky atmosphere in which Mattias Montero's photography stands out. He attempts to create a hybrid genre that combines the formula for thrillers, dramas, and other genres, but without really succeeding to do so. What is finally expressed on screen fails because it does not manage to convincingly combine its reference genres and because of failings in the script that become very obvious towards the end of the film.
The Hypnotist is produced by Peter Possne and Börje Hansson for Svenk Filmindustri and Sonet Film.
Translated from Spanish
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