Trying to piece together the intricate plot of Trance is a lot like putting together a large jigsaw puzzle, only to discover at the end it still doesn’t look right.
Master auteur Danny Boyle’s latest film revolves around an art heist. Simon(James McAvoy) is an art curator at a London auction house that gets robbed by master thief Franck(Vincent Cassel). But during the heist Franck knocks Simon on the head, giving him memory loss, which becomes a problem for Franck when he discovers the painting was missing the whole time he had it. Unfortunately, Simon can’t remember what he did with the painting. The two then employ the help of hypnotherapist Elizabeth(Rosario Dawson) to reach into Simon’s mind to find the memory of what he did with the painting. What follows is a complex set of intrigue, lies and conspiracy between the three.
James McAvoy is terrific to watch in this film, and he reminds us all of Ewan MacGregor at a younger age(Not to say Ewan is old by any means). He’s finally starting to break out into leading roles, and he’s doing wonderfully in them. (Check out the trailer for Filth, coming out later this year.) Vincent Cassel really needs to be in more films, because he is a delightfully slimy actor to watch. He has never disappointed me. Rosario Dawson holds her own against these two incredibly talented boys, but I feel that the best acting moments are between James and Vincent.
The problem with this film lies in the script. It essentially tries to be too smart and complex for it’s own good. I can’t go into detail with specific plot points without spoiling anything. But the main problem is that while the first act is intriguingly set up, once we start to delve any further into the complexities of the narrative, it becomes confused and convoluted to the point I’m not even sure the screenwriters knew entirely what they were telling. It just presents itself with too many twists to keep itself self-contained. But a part of me wonders if I should be criticizing it’s multi-layered web of twists and turns, as it’s entirely possible I missed something. A film like this probably deserves another watch to truly deconstruct it’s complex plot.
Now I do want to say that this film does rise above it’s script problems. And that is all thanks to Danny Boyle’s direction. This film is Danny Boyle having completely unadulterated fun. He takes this script, and provides it with consistently inventive, fun and fresh direction, creating some truly shocking and insane moments in the film. Re-teaming with frequent collaborators DP Anthony Dod Mantle and Composer Rick Smith, Danny creates a film that while is confused, is never dull, and is completely entertaining. I think it’s well worth the price of admission.