Review - Trance
Director Danny Boyle brings us the mind boggling and boldly original ‘Trance’. Simon (James McAvoy) works at an auction that sells very expensive paintings (we’re talking millions) but he has a bad gambling addiction that’s spiralling out of control. Knowing the process of protecting a painting like the back of his hand he decides to team up with a group of criminals to steal one of the auctions most valued paintings that’s worth a fortune.
Everything goes according to plan until Simon has a moment of selfish stupidity and decides to betray them and take the painting for himself. It doesn’t go the way he’d hoped and ends up with him being knocked unconscious by the ring leader Franck (Vincent Cassel). As a result of the almighty blow to the head Simon suffers amnesia and can’t remember where he has hidden the pricey painting.
Simon is then threatened and tortured by the gang to tell them where the painting is, all of which render useless (funnily enough torture isn’t a common or known way to cure amnesia!) Franck is growing more and more impatient so decides hypnotherapy could be an option to try and retrieve the memory of where the painting is located. Simon picks Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) at random out of 3 possible hypnotherapists in the hope that she can draw out his locked thoughts. It appears that she is more involved than first thought and as she delves deeper into Simons mind other hidden secrets are revealed and the roller coaster journey begins where it’s difficult to decipher between what is reality and fantasy, truth and lies.
There’s no denying Danny Boyle’s directorial talent with such films as ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘127 Hours’, ‘Trainspotting’ and ‘28 Days Later’ and his vision, focus and direction in this case has produced a unique, twisted and mind bending piece of cinema that keeps you guessing throughout. Boyle sure knows how to capture your mind and knows how to get you into the characters minds also. His vision for this film really came through and delivered on many levels.
The film centres on Simon, Franck and Elizabeth as they try to uncover where the valuable painting is and the journey that they all go on to get there. It’s not a quick or easy one but they are all focused on the end goal and everything that occurs in between definitely puts your mind into overdrive. Just as you think you’ve twigged it you are pulled in another direction altogether. It’s cleverly bonkers and it’s certainly a film that gets you thinking for days after you’ve seen it. I left the cinema thinking ‘wow, that was crazy’ because it really is. There are not only ups and downs but lefts, rights and horizontals all of which leave you trying to make sense of it all. For me, a film that leaves you thinking about it for days after is the sign of a successful one. Danny Boyle even dubbed this a good ‘date film’ as it gives you something to talk about after.
Not only do I feel this film is a triumph for Boyle but also for the lead actors whose characters are multi-dimensional, adding to this manic roller-coaster ride. McAvoy’s performance was excellent and after seeing two of his films in the space of a week they have cemented him as one of my favourite actors (I also loved him in ‘Wanted’). Then you have the very talented Rosario Dawson who I’ve not personally seen in many other films but who gave a fantastic performance as the hypnotherapist and did some very brave and credible scenes in the film as well. Completing the trio is Cassel’s character Franck who is meant to be the tough guy but as the film progresses we actually see a more vulnerable side to him which adds an interesting and surprising dynamic to his character.
The soundtrack was an excellent accompaniment to the film and a perfect fit to the story and mood. It was almost fantasy like at times which was quite apt considering the lines of reality and fantasy were somewhat blurred and it just added to the overall suspense and wondering of what unsuspecting route the film was going to take next.
Trance is definitely my favourite Danny Boyle film and one of my favourites of 2013 so far. It was mind warping excellence, brain achingly encapsulating and deliriously gripping madness that had me in a trance throughout but for all the right reasons. A must see movie that is refreshingly different.
Rated - 15
I give it (my very first) 5/5 Bags of Salted Popcorn
Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4_bdS3_gr0