With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Monday, April 04, 2016

THE GREAT HYPNOTIST reviewed; debuts tomorrow on DVD & Digital HD from Well Go USA

Well Go USA
The Great Hypnotist / Cui mian da shi
Directed by Leste Chen
China, 2014, 102 minutes

The Great Hypnotist is a psychological mystery thriller that debuts tomorrow on DVD and Digital HD. (Sorry, no Blu-ray). I watched the DVD which looked very good.

The film stars Xu Zheng (director and star of Lost in Thailand and Lost in Hong Kong) as Dr. Xu Ruining, a famous hypnotherapist. One day he is approached by Professor Fang (Lu Zhong), a teacher with whom he studied in college. She implores him to take on the difficult case of Ren Xiaoyan (Shaolin Soccer, Man of Tai Chi), a young woman with a complex set of problems that in part involve seeing dead people.

Xu begins treating Ren and finds himself facing a strong-willed woman who is convinced of what she sees. As their session goes on long into the night, Xu begins experiencing weird visions, or are they delusions, or perhaps hallucinations. The great hypnotist finds himself in a mental battle with a formidable adversary.

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
  -- Mandarin 5.1 Dolby Digital
  -- Mandarin 2.0 Stereo
-- Subtitles
  -- English
  -- Simplified Chinese
  -- Traditional Chinese
  -- Off

When I learned of this release, I was a bit concerned that it wasn't going to be worth watching. After all, it's home video release is coming more than a year after it was released theatrically, and the fact that it's not available on Blu-ray suggests a lack of confidence in a wide market for it.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find that The Great Hypnotist does deliver a more than just satisfactory viewing experience. It's quite an enjoyable film, with a nifty twist at the end, one that's explained in an interesting and lively manner.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; solidly recommended.

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