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Review: Trance (2013)

Director: | 103 minutes | , , | Actors: , Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson, , , Wahab Sheikh, , , Simon Kunz, , , , Jai Rajani, Spencer Wilding, ,

Simon (James McAvoy) works at an auction house. Together with a few criminals led by Franck (Vincent Cassel), he steals a painting worth 25 million pounds. But something is going wrong. Simon is hit hard in the head. When he wakes up in the hospital, he has no idea where he left the painting. Franck and his gang torture Simon but soon find out that it makes no sense: Simon really doesn’t remember. As a last resort, the help of hypnotherapist Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) is enlisted. A complicated love triangle develops between Simon, Franck and Elizabeth. The lines between hypnosis, dreams and reality are blurring. Who can still be trusted?

Director Danny Boyle’s oeuvre is very varied. ‘Trainspotting’, ’28 Days Later ‘and’ Slumdog Millionaire ‘have little in common in terms of story. Also think of ‘The Beach’ or ‘127 Hours’, completely different again. His films are set in the United Kingdom, the US, India and even in outer space (‘Sunshine’). However, his talent and interest are not limited to film. For example, in 2012 Boyle also directed the brilliant opening of the London Olympics. Who has not seen the famous movie in which Daniel Craig as 007 had Queen Elizabeth jump out of a helicopter? It took several years to prepare for the Games, so Boyle saw the opportunity to complete two more projects in between. In 2011 he brought Frankenstein to the stage with Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller who previously starred in ‘Trainspotting’. In the same year ‘Trance’ was recorded. The film may sound like a snack now, but that does not mean that the film is definitely worth it. With ‘Trance’ Boyle can add another genre to his work: the psychological thriller.

The opening scene of ‘Trance’ has a typical Boyle atmosphere. Tightly directed with a fast editing, pumping and special shots. Until the meeting with Elizabeth, the story of the film is still fairly linear. But Elizabeth betrays on her first meeting with Simon that she has met him before and that’s when the guesswork begins. Because you are constantly being put on the wrong track, ‘Trance’ is the most pleasant to experience by just letting the story come over you. It is not advisable to delve too much into the story, because that will probably give you a big headache. That way you will also be less bothered by the increasingly incredible elements that occur at the end of the film. There are even some Inception-like elements in ‘Trance’.

The cast is on a roll with some imperfections here and there. James McAvoy as Simon is fine but unconvincing in his relationship with Elizabeth. Rosario Dawson has been well cast as the vulnerable femme fatale that makes all men go wild. Her chemistry with Vincent Cassel splashes off the screen. As with some of his previous films (‘Trainspotting’, ‘Sunshine’), Boyle teamed up with Rick Smith from Underworld again on the soundtrack for ‘Trance’. A good choice because the electronic sound fits well with both the thriller genre and the speed of the film.

‘Trance’ is a psychological thriller that continuously fools you. Supported by a tight soundtrack and beautiful shots, you can fully enjoy the modern film noir atmosphere created by Danny Boyle. Here and there are some incredible elements, but due to the skilful direction and speed of the film, ‘Trance’ has become a very entertaining film.

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