- Henry Northmore
- 26 August 2014
A small-scale, intimate, Nordic noir thriller from director Lasse Hallström
After a series of mawkishly sentimental films for the British and American market (What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) Swedish director Lasse Hallström takes a sideways step into Nordic noir. Based on a book by Lars Kepler The Hypnotist is a small-scale intimate thriller which opens with a frenzied knife attack on a PE teacher. Teenage witness Josef (Jonatan Bökman) is left struggling for life. Drawing a blank, the police turn to a psychologist (Mikael Persbrandt) to uncover the repressed secrets locked within Josef’s semi-comatose brain.
If you miss The Killing and are craving more Scandi-crime drama The Hypnotist will just about scratch that itch. It conforms to the genre's heavy shadows and blue colour palette; the unusual murders; the moody police detective (Tobias Zilliacus) and several red herrings. However, the police are narrow-minded and don't even consider several lines of enquiry that are achingly obvious to the viewer. Dark and brooding, there’s an intriguing mystery buried amongst the clichés and plot holes.