Sunday 31 March 2013

Review: Trance

Year: 2013
Director: Danny Boyle 
Screenplay: Joe Ahearne and John Hodge
Starring: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel

Synopsis is here

For some reason, it has been decided that March is the perfect time for psychological thrillers. Stoker and Side Effects had both Park Chan-wook and Steven Soderbergh embrace the pulpy mechanics of the genre respectively. Now fresh off his Olympic duties, Danny Boyle has decided to entrance viewers with a contorted tale which properly had writers wondering if they can use the term "Hitchcockian" again. 

While Trance's plot is preposterous in a way that may have Brian De Palma question it's third act mechanics,  the energy and pace Boyle infuses with the film allows one to bypass some of the more questionable areas of the narrative. However, considering the film is based around the questionable matter of hypnosis. Trance's screenplay is quite detailed on the matter, noting aspects that many hypnotists take to heart. Like so many of Boyle's films, Trance rolls at such a speed that you can take much of it at face value. Probably best. 

McAvoy finds himself in more formidable territory than I last saw him (Welcome to the Punch) nailing many scenes with the right balance of charm for his character. Cassel picks up a role that he could do with both hands tied around his back, but it's good to see a Euro antagonist done well (Die Hard 5, I'm looking at you). Rosario Dawson brings up the rear with a sexy but telling performance. She's more believable as a hypnotherapist than Catherine Zeta Jones being a psychiatrist, however from the moment Dawson enters the fray, we know what position she'll be in at the end of the film.

Still the film doesn't slip too much and Boyle has fun with the film visually. At one point we see orange lit motorways mimicking synapses of the brain while the bold colour scheme of the film does well to show up the look of recent British fare. 

Like most thrillers of its ilk, Trance pretends it's about one thing before revealing it's actually about something else. Some of the film’s final revelations manage to strangely uplifting considering the events that take place with the characters involved. Much like Side Effects, the film is not at all scared to play with our loyalties and alliances to characters. After further thought, Trance didn't turn my head as much as Trainspotting or Sunshine did, but it shows itself to be a fun little exercise for everyone involved.