Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Trance: Movie Review

Twisting straight away from reality and into ridiculous nonsense.

Danny Boyle’s new thriller “Trance” seemingly has the ability to put its audience in an hypnotic state making them think that this is actually good as it twists and twists and twists away from reality, and logic, and coherence. I get why people would want to like it – it stars a naked Rosario Dawson and a deliciously enigmatic turn by James McAvoy, and features an intense score which amps up the volume with suspense.   2013

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Screenplay by: Joe Ahearne, John Hodge

Starring: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel

It starts out as a solid thriller set in the art heist world. Simon (McAvoy) works at an art auction house and in an attempt to thwart the robbers, is knocked unconscious. He stole from them and now his memory is gone. Enter Elizabeth (Dawson) as a hypnotherapist who is going to retrieve his memory of the incident and the hidden painting. At this point you should exit your expectations.

“Things are not what they seem” is a common mantra within the film. Every time they establish a new direction for the film (approximately every 15 minutes), there’s a new 180-twist on the characters. Simon is arguably the least logical of all of them – he works as an art auctioneer, would presumably have an interest in art, and yet has no problem destroying a piece of art just so the criminals can’t have it and just to piss them off. Who thinks they can piss off a bunch of thugs and expect to escape unharmed?

But then again Simon is male and we all know which part of the body men think with. Dawson’s Elizabeth has this problem where her patients fall in love with her. In real therapy, it’s called transference – when patients shift their emotions from previous events or people onto their therapist. Elizabeth also calls it transference – she, or the writers, must have learned that word when they were trying to figure out how to make her look like a semi-professional therapist. But in “Trance”, I don’t call it transference, I call it: “You showed him your vagina, what did you think was going to happen you starving slut?”

When Simon is put under hypnosis, the film has a different look and feel. This is good and appropriate so the viewer can easily distinguish between reality and trance. But for no good reason, around the half-way mark, there is no longer a visual difference between reality and trance. I think we were supposed to start questioning what was really going in, but I just didn’t care anymore. Nothing made any logical sense anyways. But “Trance” can be good for a laugh because the film just gets more ridiculous as it goes on, right up until the explosive ending – as if wowing us with some cinematic imagery will turn your brain off.

Similar Titles:

Side Effects (2013) - Morally ambiguous characters in a deceptive, complex thriller plot.

Columbus Circle (2012) - The plot of crimes moves along quickly but leaves the characters behind.

Looper (2012) - Struggles to find anything to ruminate on when using time travel to go from action to drama.

Apart (2011) - Darkness and confusion of teenage love and disaster.