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

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Vancouver Island actress finds success in a virtual world

Black Creek’s Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

Ceramic artist Darrel Hancock working on a clay jug in his home studio in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach potter Darrel Hancock celebrates 40 years in business

‘It’s wonderful to do what you love and make a living at it’

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Dover Bay Secondary School student Victoria Hathfield’s poem <em>Dear Santa</em> appears in<em> Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas is in the Air</em>. (Photo courtesy Darren Lee)
Nanaimo high schooler has first poem published in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

Victoria Hathfield’s ‘Dear Santa’ appears in new Christmas-themed edition of anthology series

Nanaimo graphic designer Amy Pye has written and illustrated her first children’s book, <em>G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo graphic designer releases first children’s book

Amy Pye teaches the Canadian alphabet in ‘G is for Grizzly Bear’

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

A sample of some of Lou-ann Neel’s jewelry.
Lou-ann Neel wins the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

Originally from Alert Bay, Neel’s family is steeped in renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artists

I-Hos Gallery manager Ramona Johnson shows some of the paddles available at the retail outlet. Photo by Terry Farrell
I-Hos Gallery celebrates 25 years of promoting First Nation artwork

K’ómoks First Nation-based outlet has art from all over the country

Most Read