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'Trance' Hypnotizes and Entertains

  • Penelope Poulou

Trance, a high energy thriller, is the latest opus from director Danny Boyle whose films include the award-winning Slumdog Millionaire. The film highlights Boyle’s versatility but it also carries his signature frantic pacing, dramatic characters and high-impact music.

Simon, an art auctioneer, played by James McAvoy, risks his life to hide a Goya painting from a gang.

Franck, the gang leader, hits Simon on the head and Simon loses his memory from the blow. But Franck does not believe Simon sufferes from amnesia and tortures him to make him talk. Gradually, he realizes that Simon is telling the truth and takes him to a hypnotist to help him remember.

The hypnotist is the seductive Elizabeth Lamb, played by Rosario Dawson.

In the beginning, the characters and their connection to each other appear straightforward. Simon is the victim, Elizabeth his advocate and Franck the villain. But Danny Boyle says there is nothing formulaic about Trance.

“From every character’s costumes, the sound, the music, the locations, the style of the filmmaking, everything is there to seduce you, as though you are sitting in the chair about to be hypnotized." said Boyle. "There might be more than one story you should listen to here. And the delight of the film is who to trust.”

Trance resembles Inception, which came out in 2010. But in Christopher Nolan's blockbuster, the main characters build subconsious worlds for corporate espionage.
The characters in Trance have fractured memories and broken personalities. They are not who they appear to be.

"It’s a lovely multi-layered sweet box, really which is all designed to lure you in and then, you have to contribute to the puzzle of the film to try and unravel the puzzle," said Boyle.

Boyle likens Trance to a film noir where the central character is a mysterious, alluring woman and there is no clear villain or hero. Although Boyle's Trance is not as gripping as his Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, it reflects its creator’s lively, over-the-top personality. It mesmerizes and entertains.