Trance (2013)

Rosario Dawson in Trance (2013)

Trance, Danny Boyle’s latest, uses hypnotherapy to venture deep into James McAvoy’s head, aiming to find out the location of a missing painting after an art heist goes wrong. Appropriately, it’s more a film for the head than the heart, presenting an interesting, intricate puzzle that keeps you thinking long after the film is over …even if the emotional aspect’s a touch undercooked. The story is carefully constructed to drop sufficient clues to let you know that things aren’t quite as they seem early on; nonetheless plenty of surprises remain.

The leads acquit themselves well: Cassel isn’t given much to do, but Dawson embodies her femme fatale role with self-assurance and McAvoy has an easy charm, like a young Ewan McGregor. The film has an excellent soundtrack and memorable visuals (I’m not talking about Rosario Dawson’s full frontal nudity, either, though I’m certainly not complaining); it’s not as trippy as you’d expect from the title, though Boyle cleverly uses recurring motifs throughout, often creating a striking image before recontextualising it later on. Trance is most successful in its last act, where the storyline threads converge in an action-packed sequence, smartly written and directed with imagination and deft use of colour.

Rating: 98/200

2 thoughts on “Trance (2013)

  1. Qualifier: the *very* last moments of the film – the last minute or so – were a little clunky, and probably weren’t at all necessary (and had the same, minor problem that the last act of the film had, which was to inexplicably try to make Cassel’s character sympathetic without sufficient time/justification). But aside from that, I did really like the last act; while it was pretty clear which parts of it were “real” and which were “trance,” the screenplay managed to still toy with the audience a bit and, heck, even though the clues were all there and you could make some educated guesses as to where the film was going, I doubt anyone could have predicted the entirety of the twist – which is notable, given how much the film foreshadowed that there would be one.

  2. Pingback: Jacob’s Ladder (1990) | Carbon Copy

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