Trance ****




Run Time: 101 mins                   Cert:15


Synopsis: In Danny Boyle’s latest movie, art gallery worker Simon (James McAvoy) is unsure of the whereabouts of a painting when he wakes up from a coma. With the help of hypnotist Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), he realises there is more to his story than he ever knew.


At the beginning of the movie, the audience is shown an art gallery and are introduced to its procedures for stolen paintings by auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy). Following this, a painting is stolen and Simon ends up in a coma while apparently trying to rescue to the painting. On waking from the coma, Simon is pursued by gangster Frank (Vincent Cassel) and his henchmen demanding he tell them where the painting is. Unable to recall events due to the head injury, Simon seeks out hypnotherapist Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) to help him remember.


In terms of story, Trance keeps viewers guessing throughout the film. Every time the audience think they have it figured out, the writers surprise them with another twist. At first each of the characters seem to have a clear role in the story but as things progress, the audience begin to question each person’s involvement. Due to Simon’s (McAvoy) amnesia the events prior to the beginning of the movie are unclear and are shown in an illogical order as he starts to remember them.


The way in which Simon’s memories return means the story is not told in chronological order, giving Trance a similar feel to Christopher Nolan’s thriller Memento. The films also explores the use of hypnosis to play tricks on the mind and leaves the audience questioning whether Simon’s memories are real or false ones resulting from the therapy.


James McAvoy gives a great performance as a confused man who is suffering from amnesia. Throughout the film, he remembers different parts of his life but struggles to piece them together. It’s not until the end scene that both he and the audience know the truth about events leading up to his head injury. Vincent Cassel also gives an enjoyable performance as Frank, the ringleader of Simon and the others. Despite being powerful and intimidating, he appears to care about Elizabeth and shows a softer side. Rosario Dawson is mysterious and intriguing as hypnotherapist Elizabeth. From the outset the audience can see there’s more to her than meets the eye but the twists and turns mean they spend the entire movie trying to figure it out.


Overall, Trance is a well written movie with superb twists and well developed characters. For those who love a good thriller that messes with the mind it is a must see.


Reviewed by Lesley Logan

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