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2013 | 101 min | R | 2.39:1



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

User reviews

2 user reviews

Movie appeal

Psychological thriller61%


Theatrical release date

 05 April, 2013
 27 March, 2013

Country of origin

 United Kingdom

Box office




Overview Preview Cast & crew Screenshots User reviews News Forum



Screenshots from Trance Blu-ray

Trance Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, April 11, 2013

After soaring to box office heights and striking Oscar gold with his last two pictures, “Slumdog Millionaire” and “127 Hours,” director Danny Boyle comes crashing back down to Earth with “Trance,” a soggy jigsaw puzzle of a movie that’s so intent on frying the brains of its viewers, it completely forgets to invite them in on the grisly festivities. Crafted with Boyle’s traditional electro bounce and cinematographic A.D.D., “Trance” is best left for those who either adore the filmmaker no matter the inconsistency of the work or those who love taffy-pull strands of interpretational material, working the stickiness until it makes some type of sense, even if the creator didn’t intend such meaning.

Simon (James McAvoy) is an employee at an auction house who specializes in the history and interpretation of fine art. Crippled by gambling debts, Simon turns to crook Franck (Vincent Cassel) is help him out of a financial bind, organizing the theft of a Goya painting worth a fortune. When the heist is complicated by the employee’s alternate plans, Simon is knocked unconscious, while Franck is left without his prize, waiting impatiently for his mastermind to return from his hospital stay to clear up the whereabouts of the painting. Unfortunately, Simon has no recollection of his hiding spot, requiring the help of hypnosis to dig out pertinent info from the corners of his scrambled mind. Introduced to Dr. Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), Simon is eased into a fluid state of memories and fantasies, growing concerned that those he’s entrusted to help him might be out to destroy him.

“Trance” is a difficult film to summarize, as it winds around sensitive twists and turns, while bathing in waters of unreality, asking the audience to trust an unreliable narrator and process scenes engineered to misdirect. It’s a swirling, swooping picture that retains Boyle’s cinematic fingerprint, carrying itself with exceptional energy for the first act, with the heist sequence a reliable highlight of the effort, while the first few narrative curveballs thrown retain promise that the director is going to summon a mystery worth investing in. Introducing Simon’s security-laden vocation, his frustrating amnesia, and the analytical hunt to shake his noggin’ back into shape brings “Trance” to full attention, sold with Boyle’s caffeinated visual taste and an initially playful lead performance from McAvoy, who puts a little wink into the feature’s helping of paranoia.

Once Elizabeth enters the picture, “Trance” transforms into mind-bending mush that grinds the effort to a halt, requiring patience with a relatively straightforward, noirish story of revenge that’s been editorially Ginsued, rearranged, and redirected to come off as an epic sweep of uncertainty. It’s an ambitious screenplay that fusses with time, identity, and consciousness, using Elizabeth’s skills with hypnosis to tour the volatility of Simon’s bruised brain, where art appreciation, fascination with female pubic hair, and a clouded past collide in the gray matter. It’s deliberately baffling, but not in an especially enticing matter that demands extended contemplation. In fact, it feels like Boyle is making up the movie as he goes, bending characterizations to a point where they crack and become unusable (it doesn’t help that there’s absolutely no chemistry between the leads), also milking a story that’s not terribly effective to begin with, a problem exacerbated when focus eventually tires of the missing painting saga and moves into random stabs at symbolism (fragmented reflections being a common visual motif) and psychosis just to maintain the fog.

“Trance” eventually reveals itself to be a tale of unstable people and the lasting wounds they cause, transitioning from an airy romp to something dire, sold with surprising aggression that seeks to shock viewers into attention instead of earning the revulsion. Boyle goes violent with alarming ugliness, aiming to rattle with artifice over a natural, riveting escalation of suspense. Again, I don’t want to spoil the show for those who might find the movie’s bloody misfortune beguiling, yet “Trance” sweats to come off interpretational, yet it’s difficult to tell if the story actually contains any secrets to spill.

Especially after his humane, confident work over the last few years, “Trance” comes across as a feeble potboiler from a genuine filmmaking force. Perhaps attempting to reconnect with his early years spent exploring awful behavior, Boyle gets too caught up in a blind sprint of disorientation, and “Trance,” as busy as it imagines itself to be, registers as lot of heavy breathing without any oxygen to spare.

Starring: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel, Danny Sapani, Tuppence Middleton, Simon Kunz (I)
Director: Danny Boyle

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