Review: Trance

Danny Boyle is back with this twisting and turning psychological thriller that dives into the the dark resesses of the human mind.

James McAvoy plays Simon, an art enthusiast and auctioneer who finds himself in deep with thieves and works in a heist to steal a priceless painting. However, during the heist the painting is lost and he suffers a concussion, losing all memory of what happened to it. In a bid to recover it, the thieves hire a hypnotist to unlock Simon’s lost memories…

At least that’s what the trailer will tell you, and honestly from the bland trailer I was unconvinced by the film (despite Danny Boyle being one of my very favourite directors) but boy did it deliver uniqueness all the same.
The plot may seem generic, but the film is shot in classic Boyle style; polarizing use of lighting and colour in scenes, dutch angle shots, as well as getting great performances from his three lead actors McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson. Not to mention the director’s awesome use of music, the man is still able to pick and chose the most exhilarating, edgy and modern sound available. I really enjoy hearing what he does with his soundtracks.

The film is quick to tell us that this is not going to be a pleasant experience with Simon being tortured by his criminal accomplices, the film is loaded with unsettling imagery, strong nudity and intense violence by the finale. But at its core, Trance is like Boyle’s own Inception (only at a high speed 101 minute runtime!) We are set on a confused and splintered journey as Simon’s fractured mind is pieced together and answers are revealed.
As such the film starts well and ends fantastically (though the ultimate reveal was somewhat predictable…) but during the second act, when the narrative is most murky and fragmented with every character’s morality in a state of flux for the audience, I did feel concerned for a time that the film wouldn’t deliver. After so much ambiguity, a worthy conclusion looked unlikely.
You will lose track if your brain is not fully switched on!

I was very glad to see it in the cinema though and ignored the rather mediocre trailer. Excellent performances all around, so many twists and turns that I couldn’t keep up and repeated viewing will answer even more questions. A little strong in some elements, especially in its multiple layers of mystery, but it never outstayed its welcome, and Boyle’s style is great as ever.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. I am dying to see this one, despite the so-so reviews I think even the “worst” Danny Boyle movie is loads better than any other movie. I think I’ll enjoy it and wish I saw it in theatres, it was playing in Dublin when I was last there. Drats!

    Nice review. Thanks for post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cinemacocoa says:

      Thanks for the comment, and you’re very welcome! πŸ™‚

      Trance, I imagine, got so-so reviews because it isn’t a conventional screenplay at all; it can lose a LOT of people. I remember at the cinema I worked at the time people coming out afterwards just bewildered/frustrated because they couldn’t keep up with it.
      Its a film you should watch with the brain switched on πŸ˜‰

      I hope you see it soon! It is definitely up there (dare I say I might be better than 127 Hours?)


      1. You know what I totally relate to that! I didn’t work in a cinema(I wish, for the free movies of course) but I worked in video rental stores for years & people would rent a movie and then ask for their money back and say something like “The critics do not have good taste.” Usually the movie was something unconventional or highly rated but not liked by audiences & I always liked them. Kind of like when I was with a friend at The Tree of Life & we loved it but people were getting up & walking out and having straight up conversations aloud during the movie about how it sucked.
        I liked 127 hours very much so if it’s maybe better that’s an enticing recommendation.
        Thank you so much for replying=)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. cinemacocoa says:

        No problem! πŸ™‚
        And I’ve not seen Tree of Life, I consider this a recommendation.
        It is funny running a blog like this, because I can tell when I might be siding with “Critics” and when I’m siding with the masses πŸ™‚ It is a strange thing to be conscious of.

        Liked by 1 person

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