Danny Boyle returns to the big screen with the psychological thriller Trance. Unlike his last two films, Boyle's latest won't likely be part of awards season talk as the film's twists and turns will not be universally liked. Trance is frustrating in some areas but strong craftsmanship and style makes it a very compelling film that will keep you guessing until the very last minute.
Simon (James McAvoy) is an auctioneer in a London art house who is secretly working with gangster Franck (Vincent Cassell) and together they planned to steal a valuable painting. But the robbery didn't go as planned and in the course of the chaos Simon is hit in the head causing him to lose a portion of his memory. When Simon can't remember where he hid the stolen painting, Franck enlists the help of hypnotherapist Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) to retrieve the information. But Elizabeth discovers more than just a simple case of lost memories.
Trance is one of those stories where people are not what they seem to be and that they all have secrets to hide. The film will not make it easy for the viewers to guess what is really going on as it cleverly shifts attention from one element to one another. There are hints early on that certain characters are not to be trusted but the film maximizes each element to manipulate the viewer to think that they know what's really happening just to shatter those notions a few minutes later. The shifts could be confusing at some point but polished direction and sleek pace keeps it from becoming a frustrating watch.
However, the revelation of what really happened will have to require the ultimate suspension of disbelief as there are contrived coincidences employed just to reach a twist. The twist also pushes for more emotional heft but it's just too outrageous to work. Strong acting from the three leads helped sustain the story and keep the characters human despite some ridiculous turns. In particular, Rosario Dawson gives a commanding performance which is necessary for the enigmatic character she plays.
While Trance does not hold all of its elements together, it still succeeds in delivering high-class thriller entertainment. It will keep you glued to your seats until the credits rolled and for a film that delves into hypnotism, it's an impressive feat.
Rating: 8 / 10
Join the discussion at Pinoyexchange! Visit the TRANCE thread
Iron Man 3
It Takes a Man and a Woman