THE GREAT HYPNOTIST (2014) review

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Dr. Xu Ruining (Xu Zheng) is a highly-regarded practitioner of hypnotherapy, a science that yields surprisingly effective results but also a bit of controversy due to its blurry ethical boundaries : indeed, matters of free will are made a bit blurry when one enters the alternative state of hypnosis. This doesn’t stop Xu from being a supremely confident, resolutely arrogant master of his craft, and he is quick to take up the challenge when a colleague asks for his help in curing a seemingly untreatable patient : a woman (Karen Mok) who’s been abandoned by her parents and by her foster parents, and now claims to see dead people. She shows up at his office one evening, and a psychological game of cat and mouse ensues as it becomes apparent she’s not the only one to have secrets. Initially dismissive of any supernatural explanation, Dr. Xu soon has the tables turned on himself, as the woman claims that two ghosts are present in the room, and starts telling him things about himself he thought no one else knew.

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