First things first, I’m a major Danny Boyle fan. But not Slumdog Boyle. I mean Shallow Grave/Trainspotting/anything weird and dark Boyle.
When Trance came out, I was so happy to see Boyle going back to the days where everyone is bad but you root for them anyways. I was also excited to see James McAvoy (yum), Vincent Cassel (délicieux) and Rosario Dawson (fuckin’ flawless) together.
The movie starts with a great concept: Simon (McAvoy) is in cohorts with Franck (Cassel), a criminal (doesn’t he always play a criminal?) who has this elaborate plan to steal a painting from the auction house where Simon works. The plan goes wrong when Simon hits his head and forgets where he stashed the painting. Franck employs Elizabeth (Dawson), a hypnotherapist to try and get the info out of Simon.
Let’s talk about Dawson’s role for a sec. She was full frontal twice in the movie, set beside old paintings of nude ladies to show the main character’s fetish for ancient ideals of femininity. That sounds like I’m reading too much into it, but it was hard to not feel like a voyeur when the two teenage girls behind me giggled at the sight of a real live lady’s’ vulva. It was kind of out of place and porn-ish. Clearly, I wasn’t the target audience for this movie.
The story seems fairly straight forward for a bit and then just takes a million curves. Dreams mix with reality, hypnosis mixes with fantasy, memories mix with wishes, and everyone is confused together! McAvoy and Cassel are exciting and really well cast — they kept me completely engaged and willing to try and figure out what was happening. To be honest though, the story only made real sense when I read the “Plot” part of the wiki page. (Sorry, film gods. I’m a cheater.) It almost felt like the movie had been adapted from a book and because of time constraints, they didn’t keep all the important parts in.
But, I still really enjoyed it. It was just refreshing to see a movie with such an ambitious script. And I was so happy to see Boyle in all his psycho glory again.