The new Danny Boyle film, Trance, is about a fine art auctioneer, Simon, played by James McAvoy, who teams up with a gang in order to steal an expensive painting, but after suffering a blow to the head, forgets where he hid the painting. As a result, the gang’s leader, Frank (Vincent Cassel), hires a hypnotherapist, Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) to look into Simon’s mind. As Simon’s mind begins to unravel, it is soon very unclear who is good or bad, who is lying, and what is real.
Trance is reminiscent of Inception or the recent film, Side Effects, in the way that it’s filled with very complex, in depth content, with many twists and levels to uncover. The film utilizes flashbacks/forwards, filling in pieces like a puzzle until everything ultimately comes together. Trance is a film that makes you think. It demands your attention; without it you will quickly be lost. The hypnotherapy is very interesting, and it seemed to work well within the film. However, we quickly learn how manipulative and deceiving Dawson’s therapist can be.
The unique look captured in Trance is in keeping with a Boyle film (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, 28 Days Later, and Trainspotting). The film is very violent, with a lot of blood, gore, and multiple shocking scenes that can make you feel as though you’re the one being tortured. There is also a significant amount of nudity and sexual content.
McAvoy plays a smart, complex, smooth character, very similar to his roles in other films. Dawson’s character, Elizabeth, is also incredibly smart and good at her job as a therapist. She quickly takes control of Simon (McAcoy), playing off of what is real, what is memory, and what is manipulation, which eventually places him on the verge of a mental breakdown. Vincent Cassel does an adequate job as the criminal leader and man who will do whatever it takes to get what he wants.
Trance is an action-packed, psychological thriller, with many twists and surprises throughout. I am not an expert on therapy, but I found the way they uncovered old memories to be very intriguing. The film is a bit confusing overall and doesn’t completely unfold on its own, leaving questions unanswered. This is not a must-see film but definitely better than much of what’s come out in 2013. I rate this film a 3 out of 5 stars.
Trance is rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence, some grisly images, and language. Running time is 1 hour and 40 minutes.
By: Hayden Pittman, Film Critic for YouPlusDallas
Tags: Action, art, blood, complex, criminal, Danny Boyle, Film, gore, Hayden Pittman, hypnosis, hypnotherapy, James McAvoy, memory, mind, movie, movie review, nudity, Painting, puzzle, Rosario Dawson, sex, shocking, surprises, therapist, therapy, thriller, Trance, twists, Vincent Cassel, violence, youplusdallas