TRANCE – Review – Starring James McAvoy

TRANCE Review by Salty Kernel – Dara Shashoua

To say I have been rather underwhelmed by current movie offerings in the last few months would be an understatement.

And then, along came Trance.

Finally. A film that makes you stop and think.

Trance starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson and Directed by Danny Boyle
Trance starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson and Directed by Danny Boyle

I have to admit there were a few moments throughout the film I looked at my friend T’Neal and said “I’m really confused” but I think that was all part of Mr Boyle’s masterplan. It’s a very hard movie to review without giving away too many plot points but here goes –

Simon (the dreamy James McAvoy) is an art dealer who partners up with a crime syndicate headed by Frank (Vincent Cassell) to steal a Goya Painting ‘Witches in the Air’ whilst it is up for auction. Estimates before the auction set the painting at $AUD36 million or 25 million pounds. Unfortunately for Simon, whilst the heist is taking place he receives a rather nasty bump on the head which results in a form of amnesia for the poor chap. Enter hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) to help him remember. This sends Simon and his crime syndicate along an interesting road in which souls are laid bare.

Danny Boyle, James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson

Trance has more plot twists and turns than even Inception. It is a very similar style film in that the further you get into the deeper the layer of the psyche of Simon is unravelled.

Danny Boyle has quite the eclectic mix of films under his belt and it seems very hard to predict what he will do next, that would also include the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games. He has given us many cult classics such as Trainspotting, 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire to list a few. He has this amazing directorial ability using colour to set the tone and mood of the film. Trance is very orange and red. From Elizabeth’s apartment which is bathed in orange light to the overhead shots of the freeways which are very red this man is just such a visionary with his films.

Danny Boyle, James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson

If Rosario Dawson does not end up with an Oscar nomination for this film I would be very surprised. Her performance in Trance is easily her best so far, her character really drives the film and also the many many plot twists and turns. Watch out for her Goya inspired nude scene which is just stunning and confronting at the same time. Dawson even has a song on the soundtrack – Sandman (I’ll be there).

Danny Boyle, James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson

James McAvoy seems to play a lot of roles where he is also the narrator, luckily he has a dreamy voice that you could just listen to constantly. Similarly to Wanted he also narrates Trance, even visually as well as the film opens with him talking to the camera telling the story of what is to come. He is very good in Trance, and it delightful to see him on the screen as he has been notably vacant since 2011 when Xmen First Class hit our screens. I think McAvoy’s career may only just be hitting its stride.

Danny Boyle, James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson

The soundtrack to the film is compiled with Rick Smith, who has worked on many of Boyle’s other films. Who could forget the soundtrack to Trainspotting? Seriously. I still listen to it sometimes. Well, Rick Smith was responsible for bringing that our ears and I believe the soundtrack for Trance is almost as good. Smith seems to be able to capture Boyle’s vision in audio form. They are a strong partnership that works incredibly well.

All in all, Trance is an excellent film. Already there are many comparisons to Inception appearing online, although a similar vein Trance is definitely not Inception but holds court in its own special Danny Boyle-esque way.

I give it an 8 out of 10 Junior Xaviers. Trance is out now – pretty much everywhere!!