It’s funny watching Trance within a half-day of watching Side Effects because before sitting down to watch them I’d always get the two confused. They are both a mystery shrouded smaller film from seasoned veterans who have done it all in the business. I even started thinking about the directors in relation to each other, jokingly referring to Danny Boyle as the British Steven Soderbergh. Now, I’m probably reaching, but there are definitely some similarities between the two. Both are great obviously, with Boyle being more visual and Soderbergh more precise in the editing and cutting. Both have touched on sci-fi with Sunshine and Solaris, both have bio-pics in 127 Hours and Erin Brockovich, both have “zombie” movies with 28 Days Later and Contagion, both have commercial successes in Slumdog Millionaire and the “Ocean’s” movies. There’s really not a point to this, just an observations of some parallels drawn between two of the best directors of our generation.
So, Trance is kind of a mind-fuck of a movie. I knew it had to do with some heist, but wasn’t anticipating exactly how it would all go down. Telling from the title, hypnosis is used frequently throughout by Rosario Dawson in order to try and get amnesia-stricked James McAvoy to remember where he stashed a stolen painting. Vincent Cassel’s character is the robber who stole the painting, and remains the catalyst who forces him to undergro these sessions to try and get him to remember the location. Things spiral out of control with everything becoming more confusing as layers get placed on top of already dense layers. We see someone put into a “trance,” and we see their visions and what they believe to be reality and what this trance causes them to thin. As the film moves on it’s constantly cloudy to whether we are seeing reality, or are still in the vision of someone’s trance, seeing things that do not truly exist in that way in the real world.
It’s hard to keep track of all these happenings, as once the film hits a certain clip it’s just endless twists and turns that demand you to pay attention or else you’ll have no clue what the hell is happening, and why people who were seemingly dead are still alive. Double-crosses, triple-crosses, addiction, intertwining relationships, the film packs a lot into a pretty simple base plot, and complicates everything and flips previous norms. Without spoiling anything, the film deals heavily with relationships as one of its themes, what they mean, how they break down, what happens when you revisit them under different circumstances. It’s a nice sidewinder to the film and helps give it some substance.
I’m pretty sure I understood it all and worked it out, that said the climax was hilarious and had me laughing out loud. The realm of reality is twisted quite often in the film, and a touch is fine, but when your climax is laugh-inducing, that’s not the best sign. Also, Rosario Dawson is full frontal naked in this movie, and I’m praying that her body wasn’t altered by a computer or something, because that thing looks like God’s masterpiece. Thank you, Danny Boyle.