Film: The Great Hypnotist
Director: Leste Chen
Cast: Zheng Xu, Karen Mok
Taiwanese director Leste Chen's The Great Hypnotist is a psycho-thriller that continues to unnerve you long after you've left the auditorium. The film, released in April this year, was screened at the ongoing 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2014 in Goa.
Zheng Xu (of Lost In Thailand-fame) plays Xu Ruining, a top-shot psychiatrist who's super-confident of his expertise. When he encounters another confident person - a patient, Ren Xiaoyan (Karen Mok), who knows all too well about the tricks of the treatment, his world is turned upside down instantly. The movie tracks the encounter, peppered with some very intriguing twists and turns to the plot.
Interestingly, it is not just the film's plot that is engaging. Right from the starting credit rolls of The Great Hypnotist, its visuals too leave a lasting impression on your psyche.
The film, which was nominated for the Best Puchon Film at the Korean film festival, Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival 2014, begins with challenging Ruining to one of the most complex cases he has ever took on in his career. When he encounters Ren, he is already nervous and has been told by her past therapists that she knows far too much about psychology for a patient. Ruining has no idea of what her problem is and fails miserably in controlling her violent reactions. Soon, the tables are turned when he tries to hypnotise the patient and instead gets into a 'waking hypnosis' himself.
Like a Nordic thriller, the movie explores some of most intriguing modern-day conflicts of human existence: The psychology of an expert who believes he is the best, only to be made aware of his failures by a subject he is used to play with (the patient), the hidden guilt people live with, the way we handle our own problems while lecturing others... all these issues are handled so deftly that you will find an immediate connect with the film.
Watch The Great Hypnotist for the sheer thrill it affords you, even if you say that human psychology doesn't quite interest you.