Trance Hypnotizes Moviegoers

Cameron Hines

Danny Boyle has made quite a name for himself in Hollywood, from his mind-numbing movies like Trainspotting to his widely popular films like Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. He’s even directed a segment of the Londa 2012 Summer Olympics. Boyle has returned to his mind trickery with his newest film, Trance, a suspenseful noir about an art heist that is as sleek as it is misleading.

The film stars James McAvoy as Simon, an employee at art auctions. He gets mixed up with some seamy individuals (played by Vincent Cassel and Danny Sapani), and a series of events lead him to a hypnotherapist Elizabeth, played by the lovely Rosario Dawson. There’s really not much else I can say about the plot without giving away important plot spoilers, and trust me, there are many to be had in this movie.

Dawson is spectacular and commands the screen, though that’s not to say McAvoy or Cassel fail to do so either. The film centers around these three and they all do an admirable job.

The script, with all its twists and turns, is penned by (oh look) Trainspotting scribe John Hodge, and he and Boyle return to bring another great film. Hodge is constantly feeding facades and lies to the audience until the entire thing blows open, and twists you didn’t see coming reveal themselves.

But it’s Boyle’s attentive eye at directing that shines the most, as he delivers a sleek but overwhelming world that is constantly lying to you. He leaves little clues scattered around, but you have to pick up on them. The sets are vibrant and intense, similar in a way to Nicholas Winding Refn’s (director of Drive) style.

In many ways, this film bears many similarities to Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects, which came out earlier this year. Both films introduce events, characters and ideas that all induce suspicion as to who is the ringleader of the events. However, unlike Soderbergh’s film, this one stays engaging and exciting, and though you constantly doubt the characters, their morality is ambiguous so you don’t know who to trust. Soderbergh’s characters lacked the dimensionality and complexity these had. Trance is sleek, it’s exciting and it’s one hell of a ride.