Art is a serious business. Oscar-winning Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) resurfaces once again after a brief hiatus with Crime-Thriller, Trance, centering around London Fine Art Dealer Simon (James McAvoy) who becomes involved with a group of Criminals to whom he is indebted. His repayment involves him stealing a rare Painting from his Art House, but after the planned Heist fails, seeing him get a sharp blow to his head, what results is him experiencing Amnesia. An American Hypnotherapist named Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) is enlisted to help him jog his memory.
Simon quite literally is under-the-gun to recall the location where he placed his highly-coveted Painting, but the stakes are raised as Elizabeth too becomes involved, wanting too her share of the Find. Volatile Group Leader Franck (Vincent Cassel) and Simon both simultaneously become fixated on her, fueling tension among the Group as they edge their way closer to unlocking Simon‘s memory. Along the way, we learn some dark secrets about Simon and Elizabeth and at once, we fear who’s lives will be spared in this high-octane quest for Fortune.
One thing that can be said about Boyle‘s Films is that they are mesmerizing to the mind, ears and eye. Stylistically, Trance does not disappoint. Everything from Colour Treatment to Location Scouting is artfully-executed, juxtaposing uniquely brutal violence and gore against hyper-coloured imagery. Scoring, which pairs Boyle once again with Rick Smith here, is absolutely exquisite heightening the experience particularly in some of the Film’s more tense moments. Trance climaxes with feverish intensity as carefully a trail of carefully-placed mysteries are left in our paths. Ultimately, what the Film lacks in plausibility because let’s face it – this would never, ever happen – it makes-up for in outstanding performances which draw us in completely.
Particularly brilliant are the daring Dawson (that soothing voice could put anyone in a trance) and range-tested McAvoy who shifts into several gears as we come to know the Simon of the past and present. Above this, nobody does alluringly sleazy like Cassel and he is cast well here, with a few moments of electric chemistry with Dawson, becoming increasingly likeable in a rare shift where the initial Villain goes through a spiritual growth of sorts.
Perhaps a bit subtle for the Mainstream, Boyle takes the Action/Thriller Genre and transcends it into High Art. Fox Searchlight releases Trance in Toronto on Friday, April 12, 2013.