— Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Rod Tidwell from Jerry Maguire, 1996
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April 13, 2013
Lets Talk: Trance Takes Audiences On a Fun Mind Trip
— Posted by Kenny Miles
Simply put, Danny Boyle’s Trance transfixes audiences commanding their attention…and it demands a reaction. There haven’t been too many movies recently that are smart and sophisticated as Trance as well as this entertaining.
Simon (James McAvoy), a fine art auctioneer, teams up with a criminal gang to steal a Goya painting worth millions of dollars, but after suffering a blow to the head during the heist he awakens to discover he has no memory of where he hid the painting. When physical threats and torture fail to produce answers, the gang’s leader Frank (Vincent Cassel) hires hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) to delve into the darkest recesses of Simon’s psyche. As Elizabeth begins to unravel Simon’s broken subconscious, the lines between truth, suggestion, and deceit begin to blur.
None of the actors add anything to the story. James MacAvoy and Vincent Cassel are along for the absurd ride. You have to love Rosario Dawson to enjoy her performance. I don’t so I didn’t care for it as much as others will, but it is clearly one of her better ones. Trance is more shallow and throwaway than deep and memorable . Pay close attention to the complicated plot and to the various twists and turns.
As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. This applies to the poster, which suggests a nasty and weird thriller. This could polarize audiences who might otherwise have a great time. It could confuse audiences into thinking its a horror thriller. Though Trance is odd and has violence, it is not as relentless and nonstop as the unexpected places the viewer is taken. Characters double, triple, and quadruple cross and even some more to the point of basking in the glorious hot mess that is the confusion of Trance.
The acclaimed British filmmaker Danny Boyle, fresh from orchestrating the transcendent and perplexing London Olympics Opening Ceremony, chooses an interesting screenplay adding to his eclectic mix of genres. He’s like an Ang Lee, but unlike Lee, consistently lives up to their hype of their film making ability. Boyle mixes his typical style from dark and gritty to colorful and flashy. Style is Boyle’s substance whenever a screenplay wanders which happens in Trance.
If their is a weakness, its the last ten minutes where the movie goes off the rails and into the deep end…like a (minor spoiler warning) certain automobile during the climax. (end minor spoiler warning) I didn’t like where Trance ended up but even its destination is up for debate. This is one of those movies.
Trance is a movie where the audience will be discussing and dissecting for days. If the positive reaction from the audience attending the promotional screening is any indication, people will be buzzing about this movie. So debate the merits of the movie and the ending in the comment section.
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Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.
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