the directing: Danny Boyle
the writing: Joe Ahearne, John Hodge
the acting: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel
Predictability can sometimes be a death sentence for any type of film. Whether this is the job of the writer, director, or editor to avoid is certainly up to the individual, but let’s all agree it is something that should try to be avoided. This is a hard thing to accomplish in modern times, as many ideas – great ideas – have already been used successfully in numerous different ways and laziness is a common characteristic of the mind. Thus, popular moments quickly become nothing more than eye-rolling cliches.
But it seems there is a new strategy, one that clearly compromises between novel and the boring. Predictability has become a tool to use in small doses as long as it distracts from the writer’s paramount payoff, which might favor this particular director’s style. Danny Boyle’s Trance gives his fans a moment of artistic insurance as it concretely confirms he has not forgotten about his Trainspotting days. His color schemes and vulnerable characters leave much to the imagination, creating a riveting thriller that stems from the mind.
Hence, a collision of the real and surreal begins this heavy dogfight as the film follows Simon’s (McAvoy) struggle to remember where he hid a multi-million dollar Goya painting. Catalyzing his memory at all costs is Franck (Cassel), whom carries an unhindered lack of patience, and thusly forces Simon into the presence of hypnotherapist Elizabeth (Dawson). This is where the – and please excuse my childish vocabulary – “trippiness” ultimately begins, frankly because Elizabeth is damn good at her job and also a little bit because of that plot structure thing.
The acting was simply phenomenal, but then again when is Danny Boyle not able to get the best of his actors. I believe the world is well aware of McAvoy’s range at this point, seeing as his filmography is something of a weird range itself, flexing from Atonement to the X-Men franchise or great dramas like The Last King of Scotland and The Conspirator. Cassel is not as well known, but deserves respect for many of his performances; La Haine and A Dangerous Method are two in particular. However, the majority of my captivation came from Dawson’s strength. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from an actress most remembered for her roles in Clerks II and Alexander – for the record Clerks II was fantastic, Alexander… eh. She clearly does not disappoint, giving everything to the role, literally and quite courageously baring it all. Her character gives the film focus, but at the same time has the power to take it away, and resolutely carries all the answers.
Me trying to explain the nooks and crannies of every twist and turn of the film could potentially cause writers Joe Ahearne and John Hodge serious harm through combusting frustration. I did find one so called “twist” to be quite predictable, but I believe Boyle did very little to cover it up, almost giving it away as if it did not matter. In the end, I am quizzically fine with this aspect for Trance gluttonized my vision and emotions with other satiating aspects.
Worth renting: Yes, Trance is definitely worth the dollar and change. This cannot be one of Danny Boyle’s least known films.
Blu-ray or DVD: Blu-ray. The dream sequences themselves make it worth it.