Thursday, July 18, 2013

Trance (2013)

Directed by:  Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later)

Written by: Joe Ahearne, John Hodge

Country: UK

Genre:  Crime, Thriller
Running Time:  101 mins

Starring:  James McAvoy (Simon), Vincent Cassel (Franck), Rosario Dawson (Elizabeth)

"An art auctioneer who has become mixed up with a group of criminals partners with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting." - IMDb

"The choice is yours. Do you want to remember or do you want to forget?"

The first 40 minutes, I was excited & impressed. I like James McAvoy, I think he's a really good & charismatic actor. And Vincent Cassel, in my opinion, always delivers. The movie pumps you up with an intriguing storyline, flashy & artsy camera shots & angles, thrilling scenes backed up with a really good musical score. Then enter Rosario Dawson. It has been a steady downward spiral from that point on. No, it's not because of her, although I thought she looked a bit tired 90 % of the film. It's the plot and the shameful use of hypnotherapy as the driving force of the whole movie. Hypnotherapy as the structure of the movie? That makes the plot shaky at best. The moment Rosario inserted herself in the scheme I found myself shaking my head more and more. 

And can I just say, that shaving scene? That was funny. I did like the music in that particular scene, and that floor shot when Rosario was coming out of the bathroom I think was nicely done, but then the camera zooms in on James' awestruck, emotional face as he slowly touches Rosario's "offering" and utters "how did you know?" with a slightly tremulous voice and teary eyes. And I was slightly getting teary-eyed too -- from laughing. I mean cmon, he acted like it's the damn holy grail! It's just a shaved human oyster, you crazy snivelling maniac.


Trance almost had everything that makes a movie work. Good cast, great direction, interesting cameraworks, good editing, stylish neo-noir execution, and really great music. Unfortunately, like poor Tin Man without the heart and The Lion without courage, this one has a weak script which essentially takes away the soul of the movie. It's a classic case of style-over-substance, easily disguised as a mind-bending intellectual movie with the use of "is this real?" sequences, change of perspective, and thrill rides, that can masterfully dupe the audience into thinking that they're watching Leo with a Spotless Mind. Danny Boyle has style, that's for sure, but he should have given equal attention to the plot as he did to his camera shots & artsy vibe of the whole film. It's not at all bad, the music and style is enough reason to enjoy this movie and send you in a 100-minute trance-like state, but after the credits roll, like a snap of a finger, you wake up after that trippy ride, shake your head, look around, and mutter, "Seriously?"

MY RATING: 3.5/5 - an extra .5 for sheer style.

Click here to listen to the full Trance OST and enjoy!

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