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Great Hypnotist, The 
Written by: on April 6th, 2016

Theatrical Release Date: China, 2014
Director: Leste Chen
Writers: Leste Chen, Ren Peng
Cast: Jing Hu, Zhong Lü, Karen Mok, David Yao-Qing Wang, Zheng Xu

DVD Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Approximate Running Time: 104 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Mandarin, Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese
DVD Release: Well Go USA
Region Encoding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98

Synopsis: A well-known psychologist takes on the most difficult case of his career. A trouble young woman who was adopted as a child and now she wants to know who her birth parents are. And to further complicate matters she claims to be able to speak to the dead. Will the psychologist be able to help her find the answers she seeks or does she have an ulterior motive for visiting the psychologist?

There is midsection and then there is midsection, if ever there was a film that exemplified an overuse of this cinema technique. Then that film would clearly be The Great Hypnotist, a film that establishes one identity only to quickly morph into something that no longer resembles what had just come before it. And it is not until a character named Ren Xiaoyan, a trouble young woman enters the fray that things start to take shape. From this moment on it is best to absorb all that is offered up since the majority of the eventually answers lay somewhere beneath the surface. With that being said, giving to much more about the plot away would lessen the impact this film’s finale.

As mentioned before the narrative requires one to be attentive to every last detail or there is a chance something will slide by you and this affects the overall flow of the narrative. Visually the film does a great job as it creates some genuinely atmospheric moments that help reinforce the mood of the film. With the film’s opening setup being one of these standout moments.

Performance wise the entire cast are all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s strongest performance coming Karen Mok (Fallen Angels, So Close) in the role of the troubled young woman. And without a doubt one of the strength her performance is that there is an air of mystery to character which not drives the narrative, it also plays a key role in the film’s finale. Another performance of note is Zheng Xu (Lost in Thailand) in the role of Xu Ruining, the great hypnotist. Ultimately The Great Hypnotist is riveting psychological thriller that lingers on in your mind long after its final moment of clarity has faded off-screen.

The DVD:

Well Go USA presents The Great Hypnotist in an anamorphic widescreen that preservers the film’s ‘scope’ aspect ratio. This film has a distinctive look that was primarily created in post-production and this transfer does a great job retaining the look of this film. Details look crisp, colors and flesh tones look accurate and shadow detail looks very good. Also there are no issues with compression and edge enhancement has been kept in check.

This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in Mandarin and a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Mandarin. Both audio mixes sound clean, clear and balanced throughout. With the main difference between these two audio mixes being that the Dolby Digital 5,1 audio mix sounding more robust of these two audio mixes. Also included with this release are three subtitle options, English, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese.

Extras for this release are limited to a trailer for the film and trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall The Great Hypnotist gets a strong audio / video presentation from Well Go USA.

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