Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Synopsis: An art auctioneer who has become mixed up with a group of criminals partners with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting.
Let’s start with the simple stuff, James McAvoy plays art auctioneer Simon, who opens the film by explaining that should someone try to steal something expensive by force, there’s a routine and rules to stick to. It’s cut and dry but you certainly feel something ticking underneath. When a literal robbery suddenly takes place, we’re given a practical example of the said ‘plan’ but McAvoy’s character Simon tries something stupid and gets one hell of a crack to the head. From there, we rapidly absorb that Simon has teamed up with criminals to steal this work of art, but the excessive force to his skull also means he’s forgotten where he hid it.
The leader of the criminal outfit is Franck, played in full, intelligent-hardman focus by the excellent Vincent Cassel, with a small gang of helpers. They physically try to make him remember but when this fails, they turn to hypnotherapist Elizabeth (the stunning Rosario Dawson) to extract this information, as she’s a Harley Street expert at delving into the subconscious. It’s an unassuming premise but what you’re about to experience is an entirely altered perspective on reality, hypnosis and furthermore, a thriller unlike anything else and, make no mistake, TRANCE is Danny Boyle at his peak.
If you’re a fan of the likes of INCEPTION, then you’ll relish this truly unique, twist-fuelled ride of your mind but you’ll also know that you’ve got to keep your concentration. It’s almost like having various different jigsaw puzzles at the same time, but they all make the eventual same image and the clever thing about TRANCE, is that everything has a reason but you won’t know why until the eventual climax, which could be at any point – depending on how you see it. Confused? You won’t be.
TRANCE is intensely determined and occasionally brutal and with a faultless cast. McAvoy excels as the beaten down and fascinating Simon, who is always either looking for an answer or another way out. Cassel is impeccable in his role as Franck, and everything you’d expect from him and finally we come to Rosario Dawson, with a strength of performance that gives us her best role for years.
It’s a deep psychosis and exploration of the mind, a thriller of passion and deceit, it’s got pieces of almost every Boyle work so far and an undoubted essence of SHALLOW GRAVE and SUNSHINE entwined. What begins so calmly and steady, unravels more and more and delves into the depths of reality with a brutally brilliant visual pay off.
Don’t leave this for a second, you can’t fail to enjoy Boyle’s finest exploration of natural impulses and obsession, as you watch them pulled apart like never before. Incredibly unpredictable, massively ambitious, TRANCE is Danny Boyle on absolute top form and an essential watch for 2013.
TRANCE is out in UK cinemas from 27th March and USA on limited release from April 5th.