Danny Boyle is a director whose projects vary from one to the next, though with the use of a style that is effortlessly recognizable. Trance might have been a terrible film in the hands of another director. It still isn’t the best of Boyle’s filmography, but the screenplay’s weaknesses are less apparent until further inspection.
Taken as pure entertainment, Trance is a fast-paced thriller with a solid cast and a director in his prime. Boyle’s last two films were incredibly successful with critics and award season. Trance appears to be more of a return to roots, along the lines of Shallow Grave and Trainspotting, both of which also utilize some unsavory characters willing to betray each other for unnecessary desires.
The film’s plot revolves around a mystery involving a stolen painting which has gone missing, though this search clouds the real questions which need to be answered. Our narrator and apparent protagonist is an art auctioneer named Simon (James McAvoy), who becomes involved with a group of thieves led by a particularly unpleasant man named Franck (Vincent Cassel). His collaboration is threatened, however, when Simon cannot recall the location of the hidden painting after taking a large blow to his head.
The only natural step to take is for the criminals to hire a hypnotherapist to retrieve the important memory. This is one of those weaknesses in the plot which sounds far less convincing on paper than Boyle manages to make it onscreen. The hypnotherapist is played by Rosario Dawson, who literally lets it all show for the role of
Trance is disorienting in plot, but once all has been revealed it becomes a much different film than what it begins with. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but a select audience group may find the underlining storyline somewhat disconcerting for a film which begins as pure caper. That being said,
is able to carry this complex role off with ease. Dawson
The Blu-ray release of Trance also includes a Ultraviolet digital copy of the film, and a number of great special features. There is an extensive making-of featurette and some deleted scenes, but the best two bonuses are a retrospective of Boyle’s career and a short film by Spencer Susser.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Disc Features: 7/10