A fine art auctioneer mixed up with a gang joins forces with a hypnotherapist to recover a lost painting. As boundaries between desire, reality and hypnotic suggestion begin to blur the stakes rise faster than anyone could have anticipated.Written by
Filmed during a break in Danny Boyle's two-year preparation schedule for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The film was edited after the Olympics wrapped. See more »
Simon shot the revolver using one bullet. So there must be five more bullets left in the revolver since normally only six bullets in a revolver. But we can hear he shot another eight more shots from his revolver to the burning car without ever reloading. See more »
[auctioneer is barking prices]
There is a painting, it's by Rembrandt. 'Storm On The Sea Of Galilee', it's called, and he's in it. Old Rembrandt, he's in the painting. He's in there, right in the middle of the storm, looking straight at you. But... you can't see him. And the reason you can't see him is because the painting has been stolen.
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After the closing credits have rolled, the audience hears the familiar five taps on the glass window that was an iconic audible signature throughout the film. See more »
James McAvoy plays Simon, a fine art enthusiast who works for a fine art auctioneer. His job is to secure the piece of art in case of a robbery. Vincent Cassel plays Franck, a high-end crime boss who has his eye on a particular painting up for auction. When Simon tries to stop Franck from stealing the painting during a heist, he suffers a head injury which causes amnesia. After recovering in the hospital, Franck and his cronies kidnap Simon demanding to know where the painting is. Turns out the painting vanished along with Simon's memory. This leads Franck to set Simon up with a hypnotherapist, played by Rosario Dawson, to help him remember what happened to the painting.
The story unfolds through Simon's perspective as we know as little as he does after waking in the hospital with amnesia. Though for the most part his past is a mystery, we are lead to like this character. For some reason we don't want to believe Franck when he tells Simon the heist was his idea and Franck was doing it as a favor to help pay off Simon's gambling debts. Is this because we feel as if we are in Simon's shoes or is it because we've become used to James McAvoy playing incorruptible heroes? Either way it is very clear that Simon is our protagonist and Franck is our antagonist. If it wasn't enough that Franck has his cronies pull out Simon's fingernails, Vincent Cassel has played enough despicable villainous roles in the past to make us weary in his presence. The most mysterious character is Elizabeth, Rosario Dawson's hypnotherapist. As the film speeds forward, we begin to trust her less and less.
Danny Boyle is not just one of the most talented directors working today, he is one of the best directors to work in film. Almost every one of his films has either gained a cult following, international critical acclaim or both. His career took off after two back-to-back hits, Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. In 2002 he took digital filmmaking to new heights and brought back the long dead survival horror genre with 28 Days Later. With Millions he was able to show off a more gentle side, doing what Scorsese did with Hugo, making a family-friendly film that appealed to both children and adults without alienating his fans. A very rare feat. Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours would both please audiences and blow the minds of critics, taking him to the top of the list of the most beloved directors. No matter how fast-paced or stylish his films get or look, he never allows it to take away from the emotional core of the story. He can take the most dull, tedious story and make it as exciting as an action packed thrill ride with creative Raimi-like shot composition and an unparallelled ear for great, epic soundtracks. Trance is a step-back for Boyle. While fans of Shallow Grave and Trainspotting will love the idea of Boyle re-teaming with screenwriter John Hodge, this will be a disappointment.
Trance does not stop twisting and turning until the very end. It is a relentless thrill ride that contains some of the most interesting topics you can put in a story today: Amnesia, hypnosis and memory regression with a hint of mind control. Though these intriguing topics are put into play they are never fully explored to the extent that we want them to be. The major issue with Trance is the final twist and conclusion. When everything is fully revealed, it is not something we wanted or hoped for.
With Shallow Grave, Hodge and Boyle had the same dynamic going. Two opposite males with a somewhat mysterious female in the middle. In Shallow Grave we have a respectful, responsible geek and an obnoxious, party-loving jerk. The more tension builds with the story the more we see the obnoxious jerk really isn't a bad guy, he's just never had to take anything serious in his life before. We come to like and relate to this character more and more as the responsible geek becomes an obsessive control freak. It's an excellent shift in characters as well as a cleverly written way to change your audiences perception/opinion on the characters at play. Trance never bothers to give you a reason to like any of the characters but obviously we're going to be rooting for the character who's shoes the film has put us in. It doesn't feel like Hodge or Boyle bothered to try to do anything more than set-up the twist and deliver it in a package made of the most exciting sound and visuals possible. We are suspicious of Franck and Elizabeth and are never given a reason or the time to like or care for them.
In the end it feels like we have just witnessed a magic trick that instead of leaving us with a sense of awe and wonder, we are left feeling cheated. A bad taste lingers in the mouth afterwards. They give us the sense that the ending is happy, that everything wrapped up perfectly. This couldn't be father from the truth. The end credits roll but we are left sitting in the dark hoping for an alternative ending. An ending that lives up to how fun the film was up until the final reveal.
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