Movie Review – Trance by Danny Boyle

Product Details5 Stars

Whew!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, though I have seen a few movies since my last review.  Sometimes the absences are from lack of material to review, other times from lack of time to review the material.  Well, now I have some material built up, and time is slowly returning to me so hopefully this week will be full of content.

Debuting this week on DVD is Trance from Oscar winning director Danny Boyle, and I’ve got to say I loved it on almost every level.  There were several ways to look at this one, as it is a psychological thriller, on top of a robbery movie.  I think it was the best “heist” movie I’ve seen in many years.  I love a good heist movie, but then the filmmakers also gave us a nice dose of psychological thrills.  In lesser skilled hands, this could almost be too ambitious and could create a disaster of a film, but Boyle is more than capable of handling the multi-layered story.  Tack on the amazing cast of James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, and Rosario Dawson and Trance is a sure hit for any fan of the genres.

James McAvoy plays Simon, an assistant auctioneer who assists Franck (Vincent Cassel) with the theft of a famous painting (Francisco Goya’s Witches in the Air) from his own auction house in London, but during the heist, Simon gets hit on the head and can’t remember what he has done with the painting.  After torturing him reveals no answers, Franck and his crew believe that Simon has lost his memory and bring him to a hypnotherapist to help uncover the mystery.  Using hypnosis, Dr. Elizabeth Lamb (Dawson) uncovers the plot and makes Franck a deal, she’s wants in on the take as payment for helping to recover Simon’s lost (or possibly repressed) memories.  Trance was not a straightforward mystery film that you could solve from your couch, but instead a very stylish ride that keeps you under its spell until the end. The hypnotic sequences overlap the real sequences at times, leading to some murky confusion, mirroring Simon’s own state of confusion.  As layer after layer of hypnotism takes its toll we, the viewer, are left wondering what, if anything, is real and if Simon is being manipulated or simply losing his mind.  We get a tale of memories and false memories; of reality and imagined realities; and of love and deception which all come crashing to a climax as the truth behind the painting’s location is revealed.

Both the camera work and sound were simply fantastic making for an incredible movie experience.  The mirrored images, the multiple angles used and the effective use of colour really accented the story well, but for some reason I really noticed and enjoyed the sound editing.  I suppose the sound is not really something you pickup on a lot of times, but this time I did.  The harsh buzzing of a cell phone on vibrate; the sound (and lack of sound) in Simon’s hypnotic memory sessions and at the heist itself were masterful.  I will admit that at times the story got to be a little confusing (purposely) but if you just sit back, pay attention and watch, the ending will piece it all together for you.

Before I finish off I have to say that I really enjoyed Vincent Cassel and though she only had a very small part in Trance, I can see why Tuppence Middleton was nominated for the London Evening Standard Film Awards Most Promising Newcomer in 2010.  A quick IMDb glance shows me that she was also in the Spies of Warsaw TV mini-series.  I’ve wanted to see this one for quite a while and now have one more reason.


Posted on 13-07-23, in 5 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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