Danny Boyle continues on his campaign to never repeat genres by giving us a stunning psychological thriller that crosses so many boundaries I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable even using the word thriller - the only thing for certain is that it is definitely psychological. Borrowing elements of film noir this exhilarating ride is just short of greatness. Just as you could imagine from the title; Trance is a visual, aural and intellectual dream-like experience.
Trance stars James McAvoy as Simon, an auctioneer who gets mixed up with the wrong group of thieves. Simon's auction house is selling a painting £27 million (Roughly $41 million) when a thief by the name of Franck (Vincent Cassel) breaks in and attempts to steal it. Before Franck can do so he and his crew notice the painting has gone missing and Simon is the only person that knows where it is. Unfortunately for Franck, Simon suffers a serious blow to the head during all the chaos and cannot remember where it is. After trying to divulge the location from him proves unsuccessful they turn to a hypnotist (Rosario Dawson) who can unbury any memory and that's where the audience joins in this psychological trip to find the painting. This film will leave you as hypnotized as any member of the cast was I assure you.
Dawson and McAvoy deliver excellent performances; they handle their roles with such control that every little subtle facial movement reveals more than it should, especially within Dawson's character. Vincent Cassel alongside them brings the story to full force and together with Danny Boyle they all bring Joe Aherne's gracefully twitchy screenplay to life.
Boyle interestingly enough stuck to his 18A rating not willing to dilute his story so he could hit a broader audience; the man isn't afraid to have graphic imagery in his film like other directors who have attempted the genre in a similar way (i.e. Chris Nolan, Inception). The cinematography is - as always with Boyle – beautiful and in fact rather charming in its own sense. He handles the camera with such precision it's impossible to question his cinematic choices. The coolest aspect of the film being his declaration of war on the senses with a chaotic soundtrack and fast paced editing.
The film however is not without flaws. The film so heavily relies on tricking the audience that it's actually very easy to get lost and unfortunately lose interest in the film. While I didn't particularly feel this way I can see why others would have. While I've always been fascinated by the idea of an unreliable narrator to tell your story, when you're switching between three perspectives trying to decide which one is reliable it can sometimes take too much focus away from your plot.
Besides that Trance is an intellectual delight with enough twists and turns to keep the majority of people interested. Its performances, style and tremendous attention to detail is enough make a very balanced film. If you love movies similar to Memento this is definitely something to check out.
Be sure to check out my review site: thejoshlreviews.com, and my video review of this film here http://youtu.be/xpCWBi5N6ew