Movie Review: Trance

An artful film noir and a nifty brainteaser that appeals to everyone

James McAvoy (left) stars as an auctioneer with huge gambling debts in Danny Boyle’s new film Trance.

James McAvoy (left) stars as an auctioneer with huge gambling debts in Danny Boyle’s new film Trance.

Danny Boyle is an artful and creative filmmaker whose output has ranged from edgy fare such as Trainspotting to heartfelt Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire. His latest, Trance, is a nifty brainteaser that will appeal to anyone who likes their film noir with a sprinkling of hallucinogens. And the acting is damn good, too.

James McAvoy stars as Simon, an art auctioneer in London who runs up such a load of gambling debts that he joins forces with a suave gangster named Franck (Vincent Cassel) to steal a Goya worth $40 million. Unexpectedly, Simon gets a bad bang on the head during the robbery and can’t remember where he stashed the painting. Enter Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), a Harley Street hypnotherapist brought in to reboot his memory circuits.

This is a fascinating puzzle of a film and it requires your full attention as its twisty plot shifts from flashback to dream to hypnotic suggestion. Trance has a gleaming visual surface that goes from swanky apartments to a recurring nighttime image of a red-lit highway cloverleaf that’s like an analogue for one of Simon’s inflamed synapses. This sexy and slick movie has more than a few surprises, including a lover’s triangle that helps drive the plot to a shocking resolution.

 

Trance ★★★½

Directed by Danny Boyle

Starring James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson

R – 101 minutes

Continues at The Odeon

 

 

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