Tuesday, 17 September 2013


It’s strange how quickly movies go from Cinema to DVD release these days. It feels like mere weeks ago when a friend and I were stood outside Stratford Westfield’s Vue, debating whether or not Trance would be worth the extortionate ticket, food and drink prices.

My friend simply wanted to gaze at the ever-beautiful Rosario Dawson (perfectly reasonable grounds for a film choice, right?) but after Youtube-ing the advert five (or fifteen) times and still having no clue as to the plot line, it had to be a veto from me. Despite this fact though, the equally vague DVD cover seemed to scream “take me home” when it first came in stock, so I did, and I can’t say I regret it.

Trance – staring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and, of course, Rosario Dawson – is a Psychological Thriller directed by Danny Boyle. The plot is a difficult one to explain without giving too much away, as it’s full of enough twists and turns to tie a snake in a bow, but I’ll give it a shot regardless. To put it simply; Simon (McAvoy) is an art auctioneer who works alongside Franck (Cassel) to steal a painting from his own auction house, but it goes wrong. This film is anything but simple, though, so allow me to expand a little.

**Semi-Spoiler Alert**

The plan was simple; all Simon had to do was take the painting down to an agreed area where Franck would hold him up at gunpoint, “forcing” him to hand it over, and nobody would be any the wiser regarding their collaboration. Instead, Simon removed the painting leaving only an empty frame behind, so when Franck tries to check the painting after taking it, Simon intervenes, receives a gun buck to the skull and is rewarded with amnesia. As expected, when Franck eventually discovers the frame is empty, he hunts down and tortures Simon to find out where the painting is stashed, but after realising his amnesia is genuine he turns to hypnotherapy. In other words, Elizabeth (Dawson) is introduced and the real story begins.

From this point onwards, the film is just a whirlpool of puzzle-pieced information designed to suggest that nothing is really as it seems, without truly unveiling anything at all. It also becomes increasingly difficult to discern reality from the character’s dreams, memories and hypnotic excursions. To be honest, you can definitely feel a direct influence from Christopher Nolan’s Inception, especially in the final scene, but I guess any film, which explores the subconscious, now will face the same scrutiny. My brain had to work a little harder than I had initially anticipated and it seemed a little over done at times, but the dramatics became more and more acceptable as the conclusion drew ever near. A conclusion that is far from disappointing, might I add.


My only real problem was the choice to cast James McAvoy. Simon, as a character, is multi-dimensional, full of surprises and McAvoy sure played it well enough… I’m just sick of watching him as the spineless pushover with a ruthless edge, waiting to be unleashed. Maybe I’m biased, or maybe I watched Wanted one too many times, but seeing him in that role, yet again, made Simon just that little bit less authentic for me. The rest of the cast hit the spot though, so I can’t complain too much.

Anyway, personal discriminations aside, it is absolutely worth looking into if you have a spare hour or two… or three or four, ‘cause I’d actually say you should see it twice. The following morning, I watched the intro again and noticed a lot of relevant little details that I’d disregarded the first time; it was almost like seeing the film through a different pair of eyes, an effect most titles don’t seem to produce, and it made me appreciate the technicalities, planning and subtly of the script that little bit more. 

Verdict: 8/10

Shenade, CeX Edmonton

Trance at CeX

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