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Genre Mystery

"You're back in the room." What happens when are our eyes are closed and our subconscious has the run of the place is a mystery in itself. Whether we're dreaming, hypnotized or in a state of deep relaxation - we seem to be vulnerable to the power of suggestion by the voices around us. Trance explores this state with a similar edge to Inception, Memento and even Fight Club.

A fine art auctioneer (McAvoy) becomes the missing piece to a gang's recovery of a stolen Goya artwork. After a knock on the head... the task becomes much trickier as a hypnotist (Dawson) tries to foil the gang leader (Cassel) and puzzle altogether.

Danny Boyle is a versatile director, having delved into an array of genres with great aplomb. Who would imagine that someone could shoot a film in-between orchestrating the opening of the Olympics? He's an energetic force, and while he agreed to direct the Olympics opening, he prefers smaller scale projects in which he has more control. Trance is one of those projects, teaming up with John Hodge (Trainspotting) again to adapt a 2001 TV movie script into something with more panache.

Trance stars James McAvoy, although to be fair, this is a three-headed creature with Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson flanking the likable actor. This role reveals a much darker side to McAvoy, who recently played MacBeth on stage. It seems that the cheerful upstart is a type McAvoy is trying to shake with a series of performances with a much more sinister edge. Perhaps he's just trying to give X-Men's Professor Xavier more mystique?

In Trance, McAvoy delivers Simon in a complex performance that harnesses equal measures of light and dark, shifting his flawed character with demented sincerity. Vincent Cassel seems destined to play another typical Vincent Cassel villain as Franck, but all notions of this are shattered as Boyle bends the crime genre's rules from a straight art heist thriller into a swirling and surreal mystery drama.

Then, Rosario Dawson almost hijacks the lead as Elizabeth, as the psychological puzzle locks in place. Dawson wants to fall in love with her roles and she immerses herself in the world of Trance, giving a beautifully controlled performance.

Trance is a sleek film with a fragmented reality and sensuality based in the subconscious, which gives the director free range. Danny Boyle doesn't shy away from nudity or violence making the journey visceral and thrilling in every sense of the word. He uses a trail of breadcrumbs to lead you into a space, where several realities exist.

While as mesmerising as a kaleidoscope, the narrative does get a little messy. Boyle likes to feel his way through a film to journey with the audience and the set is an extension of him. He uses mirrors and interesting angles to represent these altered states, casting us in the deep end of the maze and making the process of getting lost deeply affecting and fascinating.

As they say in the film "No work of art is worth a human life." Trance is not a masterpiece and it isn't as good as its Nolan and Fincher contrasts, but it is a work of art. Boyle has crafted a film with artistic flair that will: evoke emotion with a selection of solid performances, enchant viewers with dazzling visuals, immerse us in another dimension with a surreal score and lose us in a maze of mirrored realities.

The bottom line: Mesmerising

7.00/10 ( 1 Vote )
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