Danny Boyle is one of the most successful and acclaimed directors around. He is also incredibly versatile, never sticking to one genre. He has done intimate thrillers (Shallow Grave), drug induced psychedelic dramas (Trainspotting), horror (28 Days Later), sci fi (Sunshine), an Indian drama (Slumdog Millionaire), and a true story about survival (127 Hours). Boyle’s latest film, Trance, breaks down a lot of genre walls and proves itself rather indefinable.
Simon (James McAvoy) is a fine art auctioneer. When a robbery takes place during an auction, Simon attempts to take the most valuable piece to a safe drop, but is intersected by Franck (Vincent Cassel), the leader of the robbers. Franck takes the package and strikes Simon in the head. After suffering some head trauma, Simon remembers little about the robbery, but when Franck seeks him out after discovering the package to be empty, he forces Simon to see a hypnotherapist, Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) to try and unlock the memory that will tell them what happened to the painting. But all is not as it seems as the three play off each other to obtain the final prize and outwit each other.
Trance has many elements within its story. Thriller, heist movie, drama, romance, even a semi sci fi feel when the elements of jumping back and forth through Simon’s memories is employed. Trance is also one of those films I wasn’t sure I was going to like while watching it, until the end came around and the story got pulled together. Then I was sure I liked it. Boyle’s direction here is that of a seasoned master. Creative angles and camerawork, combined with Joe Ahearne and John Hodge’s excellent twisty script makes for a mind trip, but ultimately a rewarding and interesting movie. Performances across the board were all top tier, but what do you expect from James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and the vastly underused Vincent Cassel. McAvoy in particular seems to be on a roll lately with this, the excellent Welcome to the Punch, and the upcoming Filth and X-Men: Days of Future Past. I have been a huge fan of McAvoy’s since The Chronicles of Narnia and The Last King of Scotland, and in particular since the unbelievably awesome Wanted. McAvoy is a great actor that can tackle and sell any role he is given. Trance is definitely worth the time investment, and anyone claiming there are no original movies anymore should sit down with it and prove themselves wrong.
The Blu-ray from Fox is gorgeous. With Boyle’s talent behind the camera and Fox’s talents for mastering Blu-ray’s, this is one of the best looking discs of the year. The picture is perfect; there is no two ways about it. Crystal clear, perfect detail and clarity, full immersive audio, this is about as good as it gets. For something different and original, make sure you give Trance a shot.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.