When FBI Special Agent Joe Merriweather (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is unable to solve a series of homicides, he decides to enlist the help of his former colleague Dr. John Clancy (Anthony Hopkins), a retired physician with psychic powers. When Clancy’s exceptional intuitive powers put him on the trail of a suspect, Charles Ambrose (Colin Farrell), the doctor soon realizes his abilities are no match against the extraordinary powers of this vicious murderer on a mission.
*this will be available in Canada on VOD, December 27th, and on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD, March 14, 2017.*
It’s hard to imagine that a film featuring Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell would bounce around for so long but here it is now. When you think you’ve seen everything, Hopkins plays a psychic but so does Farrell. This film was thus billed as psychic vs. psychic and it kind of was but it could have gone much further with it. The film felt like two different films with the initial investigation taking up the first half and that psychic battle taking up the second half.
Without giving anything away, the first half was just a buildup to the more exciting second half. First, we met Agent Merriweather and his partner Katherine Cowles (Abbie Cornish). They each had backstories of their own with Merriweather and Clancy being old friends after working together and Cowles being more of a pure scientist, leading to disagreements with Clancy. All of this went how you would expect but they ultimately didn’t matter as they were more of a means to Clancy’s story.
Merriweather and Cowles were desperate as their investigation was going nowhere, Merriweather decided to turn to Clancy. He was reluctant to help at first, being a broken man after losing his daughter to leukemia and then losing his wife. This helped to explain his motivation but it ultimately didn’t matter either.
Being a psychic, Clancy would get dark visions about what had happened or what will happen. They would show a seemingly random set of images set to stereotypical dramatic music. Every vision generally followed this pattern, trying hard to convince us that the film was dark even though it didn’t have to. He never really reacted to all the dark stuff he was seeing but maybe he was just used to it.
As they got further into the investigation, Clancy began to suspect who may have been responsible and Ambrose learned of Clancy’s involvement in the investigation. A major moment later in the film triggered this shift and the film became about their battle. The film hinted at this through Clancy’s visions which featured a vague outline of Ambrose (of course we didn’t know it was him yet). This was okay but it would have been better if the reveal was more of a surprise.
Sure, Clancy’s psychic abilities were contrived but his back and forth battle with Ambrose was fun to watch. This did not last nearly long enough as old school with Clancy battled new school with Ambrose. More development for Ambrose would have been nice but it would have ruined the surprise. His motivation for doing what he did wasn’t the strongest either but it didn’t matter either.
Hopkins wasn’t overly flashy here but he didn’t need to be. He was very compelling to watch here as any scene without him did not fare as well. Although it did not have as much of an impact, he was decent at portraying Clancy’s inner conflict with what he has seen and done. Morgan and Cornish were okay and had good chemistry with Hopkins but didn’t really do too much because it was Hopkins’ film. Farrell was surprisingly good as the villain, in limited screen time.
Overall, this was a decent, entertaining thriller with a slightly convoluted story that gets in the way but is elevated by Hopkins.
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