With every release, it appears that Danny Boyle improves upon his unequaled style, superlative storytelling, and multifaceted brutality. Trance is no exception. Composing a profound, resplendent core comprised of obsession, violence, love, and loss. Boyle constructs an intelligent thriller that has the heart and flare to match. The persistent twists and unforeseen turns will prove to be too daunting for some to handle, let alone comprehend. However, if this intimidating, obscure brilliance circumvents your ability to understand, appreciate, and savour Trance. It is probably a safe bet that you’re not a fan of Boyle’s to begin with. Starring the marvellous James McAvoy and the phenomenal Vincent Cassel. Along with an unprecedented performance from Rosario Dawson. Trance’s labyrinthine plot is coordinated with a competent and talented cast. With its seductive soundtrack, hypnotic atmosphere, and unrelenting brutality. Trance is another unmeasurable chapter inducted into the renowned collection of Boyle pictures.
Simon (McAvoy) is an art auctioneer who, in a desperate attempt to secure a valuable piece during a heist, is hit hard in the head. When he wakes, he is greeted by the group of thieves who tried to steal the painting. The leader of the gang, Franck (Cassel), begins to question Simon while his thugs torture him. Upon learning he has sustained memory loss when he was knocked unconscious, they persuade Simon to attend a hypnotherapist. The one Simon has chosen is named Elizabeth (Dawson). When the limits of her abilities to detect the location of the lost painting are questioned, the circumstances begin to change. Crossing the line between fantasy and reality, Simon becomes entangled in a life threatening situation.
A lot like strange dream sequences, the seemingly out of place, yet oddly entertaining shifting and abruptness of Trance induces a euphoria of inconsistencies that surprisingly, interleave themselves quite effectively. Resembling that of a hallucinogenic transcendence. The complexity and strangeness of Trance’s shared sedated state might look dysfunctional, but it is never misplaced. The connected minds weaving in and out of consciousness and hypnosis hooks into the viewers natural, almost instinctive presumptuous mind and pulls it along until what looked plausible is torn down to the improbable. A haunting beauty really. There is a distinctive link between Trance and the viewers mind. As we try to dissect and distinguish what is happening in front of us, again instinctively, we are simultaneously fearful of it because it is unknown. These are major plot points throughout Trance that, to an extent, mirror the viewers struggle. Rarely do we see a film that not only sucks the viewer in, but also attaches itself to the thought process.
One of the more respectable traits in Boyle’s approach and direction is his unsurpassed style that bursts forth from the screen. Every so often in Trance, a scene unveils itself from the cluster of emotion and abstraction that the viewer can’t help but fixate on. These sequences contain some sort of ambient, cosmic musical composition swiftly encompassing all senses while an accurate depiction of a harmonious or chaotic event causes the viewer to question the reality of it all. Throughout all of Boyle’s works, there is no shortage of occurrences similar to those radiating from Trance.
Another fine aspect fused into Trance is its very elemental and personal motives. Rather than making a film directly focused on abstract notions and deranged visuals. The blueprint for Trance’s foundation is not flimsy. Most science fiction or fantasy thrillers focus too much attention on the hypothetical and not the philosophical. Trance has equal heart and brains, neither is superior to the other.
I hate to go into a film with assumptions. But with Trance’s cast, it’s difficult not to expect concrete performances. However, a cast with this much experience and strength, its almost a foregone conclusion they’ll deliver. Beginning with James McAvoy, lets assess the three leads. It’s quite the seldom spectacle to see an actor with such a diversified repertoire, which McAvoy possesses. He did not hold back anything for Trance. Funny, enraged, melancholic, and diabolical, McAvoy left everything on the table. Following in similar fashion is Vincent Cassel, who snakes his way around the viewers opinionated mind. You can never quite get a read on him, which makes it all the more effective. Finally, the broad and brave Rosario Dawson. Leaving all components of her brilliance exasperated, literally, Dawson is only upstaged by the boundless performance from McAvoy.
For the record, without a doubt, Trance has one of the best original scores of 2013 to date. I can already tell from acquaintances opinions and reviews that Trance is misunderstood and unappreciated in its own time. If you can, separate yourself from anything regarding Trance (except my review obviously, because my opinions are awesome) and just watch it and judge for yourself.
Intelligent, grounded, and utterly violent. Trance is a must see for Boyle fans and cinema enthusiasts alike.
Trance: 8.5 out of 10.