Trance (2013)


I have never predicted that “Trance” can do more than I expected. It’s been so long for me not seeing such a twisting, un-predictable, multi-layered crime-thriller like this one. I didn’t keep good track on Danny Boyle’s filmography but I’m sure that he is also the one who turns the great story into such a tidy, chic presentation. I just think that this is the movie every crime-thriller lover should see. Read more to understand why.

 SYNOPSIS >  The first ten minutes of “Trance” is a masterpiece opening heist. Simon (James McAvoy) works as a fine art auctioneer who has been trained to anticipate robberies happened when an auction takes place. It is one bad day when a robbery led by Franck (Vincent Cassel) suddenly breaks, and Simon has prepared whatever it takes to save not only his life, but also the auctioned painting. However, it is also a misfortune that after a severe hit on his head, Simon can’t remember where he hides the painting. Therefore, he comes to Dr. Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) to ask for help in recovering his memory by doing a sort of hypnotherapy.


 REVIEW >  Yep, I agree that the story idea of “Trance” is not something we normally meet on the ground: it is imaginatively floating on the air. I always appreciate superb films that come from very simple story ideas that we see in our daily life, but “Trance” introduces us to the world where bad guy do risky business in a field not so general: art auctions and psychiatric practice. And the longer we follow the story, the more we realize that it is creatively (if not unnecessarily) trumped up.

Yet, it also surprisingly puts you attached on your seat and gives you excitement you would never forget. “Trance” tricks you to let the story tells whatever it likes and disables you to analyze if there are holes in the plot. There is just no chance to do that, you could just be hypnotized to love it—just like the leading character himself. This is the film where our crime-thriller instinct just went so blunt that we couldn’t help but nod to every spell it tells. Even I couldn’t re-arrange all the pieces of the shattered story just to see the big line—neither could I have the chance to tell if the story is truly valid (look, we have medical-related topic in the story and I am not sure if such a medical practice is truly applied in our daily life). It is just lovely and thrilling.


This is a neatly written screenplay, not to mention that it is also a perfectly assembled story. Danny Boyle comprehensively plays with our mind with blurred images and contrast colors that give the sense of dream. He uses reflections from mirrors and glasses to build the enigmatic, metaphoric, dream-like condition. Music in the background amplifies the adrenaline rush, while careful editing put together all scenes into a brainiac but understandable story.

And the casts also play a significant part in “Trance”, although I’m not sure if we do need strong characterizations from, at least, the three leading roles. Again, we won’t have the chance to analyze them: we only have to agree that they are all two-faced characters that you couldn’t trust at the first place. I appreciate the acting of James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel, but I think we all agree that Rosario Dawson is the spotlight. I’m sorry if this is a bit spoiler-y but I can’t help not talking about her full-frontal nudity in this film. It’s very interesting to see how the nude scene is not merely exploited for bringing fancy to the film (like many films uselessly do), but is more related to the key of the story itself. It’s one of the main ingredients to let the story makes sense.


 CONCLUSION >  I just found that it is adapted from a similarly-titled 2001 TV movie, is it right? “Trance” is engaging and exciting. While the story itself is already a finely written, Danny Boyle with his artistic touch brings it up one level than just a mainstream crime-thriller. A puzzling, complex story that undoubtedly amuses all the geek fans of this genre.


4 out of 5 stars

 ▲  Fine directing by Danny Boyle, engaging and thrilling story, good screenplay
 ▼  Prone to plot holes, validity of references used is questionable

TRANCE | COUNTRY UK YEAR 2013 RATING Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence, some grisly images, and language RUNTIME 101 min GENRE Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller CAST James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson, Danny Sapani, Matt Cross WRITER Joe Ahearne, John Hodge DIRECTOR Danny Boyle MORE INFO

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