MOVIE REVIEW | Trance (2013)


“The memory is not destroyed, it is locked in a cage, and with enough force, enough violence, the lock can be broken. It comes back, the memory, not completely, not entirely, but enough to drive you, to make you feel you have been cheated, enough to make you angry. What did she look like?”

Danny Boyle has to be one of the most versatile directors working today. From the gritty, ultra-cool of his breakthrough Trainspottting, to legitimately terrifying sci-fi horror with Sunshine, to sweet and sentimental family fare with Millions. I haven’t seen Slumdog Millionaire since it was first released, and while movie snobs lift their noses higher and higher at its Best Picture Oscar win as each year passes, I remember being pretty happy that it got the win. More recently, his highest profile gig was directing the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. But at the same time, he was also putting together Trance.

I don’t remember much buzz for Trance when it came out a year ago. And I only remember one review. It was negative. The critic wrote it off as a quickly slapped together nothing of a movie, made while Boyle was obviously distracted by his Olympics gig. Now that I’ve seen it, I have to call bull shit on that review.

Simon (James McAvoy) is a young auctioneer in a prestigious London auction house that deals in high end art. One day, a slickly planned heist goes down and a priceless painting is stolen. Simon is knocked out during the robbery and wakes some weeks later after being in a coma. And now it’s time for TWIST 1: Simon was in on the robbery. Along with Franck (Vincent Cassel) and some other criminal stereotypes, the robbery went almost perfectly to plan. The only problem is, when Simon wakes from his coma, he can’t remember where he stashed the painting.

Cue hypnotherapist Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), who Franck hopes will be able to unlock the memory from Simon’s damaged noggin. TWIST 2: Elizabeth figures out that they stole the painting that’s been reported in the press and she wants a cut of the proceeds once they find it. Normally, I wouldn’t talk about twists in my synopsis of a movie, but these happen so early, that they don’t give anything away. Even if they did come as a surprise, there are literally a dozen more twists to come at you as this movie progresses. So none of the impact of Trance will be lost by knowing the above.

And the impact of Trance is its greatest strength. I’m sure part of my appreciation comes from simply being not very switched on, and rarely seeing movie twists coming. But I also think part of it is that I subconsciously want to be surprised by them, so I never try to figure anything out in advance. Sure, it’s kind of fun to be the know it all prick who gets to brag about seeing it coming a mile off. But isn’t it more fun to actually be surprised and shocked by just letting the movie do its thing?

Speaking of surprises, Trance has a major point of character and story development built around pube shaving. I’ll just let that sit with you for a moment.

Now that you’ve come to terms with that, it’s time for you to do what most people didn’t do a year ago. It’s time for you to watch Trance. Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel are good, James McAvoy is amazing, and of course, Danny Boyle gives it a rhythm and pace that’s just heaps of fun.

Directed By – Danny Boyle
Written By – Joe Ahearne, John Hodge

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