Danny Boyle’s new effort, Trance, starring James McAvoy is complex and hard-hitting, but does it live up to his previous films?
If you were going to ask anyone to tell a complex and hard-hitting story, then Danny Boyle would probably be in your top three, if not your number one choice.
In Trance, James McAvoy stars as Simon, a fine art auctioneer who finds himself at the epicentre of a heist-gone-wrong. The gang he’s involved with, headed by Franck (Vincent Cassel), hire hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) in the hope of recovering Simon’s memory of the events of that fateful day.
Revelation of truth
Things are not as they seem as the therapy takes place, with the lines between reality, memory and desire blurring in an Inception-esque dream world. But as the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, the revelation of truth ends in twists and turns that will have your mouth agape and hands clutching the armrest of the cinema chair.
McAvoy is perfectly cast as Simon, with a compelling performance that is manic and almost heart-wrenching at times. In fact, the whole cast is so involved and the characters so complex that it’s easy to overlook the flaws of the film.
The opening 10 minutes before the credits is a mounting of tension soundtracked by a stomping techno beat, raising adrenaline levels well above normal. But as much as the rest of the film tries to match the same heights, it is not until the last 15 minutes or so that the palpitation-worthy moments return.
That is not to say that the middle part of the film is boring; it certainly isn’t. While Boyle tries – and often succeeds – to keep us on the edge of our seats for the duration, the flitting between chaotic parts and dips into half-baked dream scenes is slightly manic and creates a sense of hollowness in the overall plot.
However, Dawson shines as Elizabeth Lamb, creating sexy suspense throughout. And Boyle (known for Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, and of course the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony) still impresses with his dark humour and intricate storytelling.
If you want a quick hit of action and an adrenaline fix, then Trance is still worth going to see. For many Boyle fans, though, it might not live up to any previously-held high expectations of the great director.
Trance is released in cinemas March 27