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Trance | The Clapper Bored


Danny Boyle is a phenomenal filmmaker, whatever you think of his films. That sounds like a nonsense statement, but you can’t deny the ambition, scale and execution of films like Trainspotting, Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire, even if you don’t feel that the end product fully works. What we have with Trance is a perfect example of that- a film that is flawlessly executed, wonderfully imaginative and wildly enthusiastic, but which won’t work for everyone. That said, it worked for me.

At the heart of the story is James McAvoy’s inside man auctioneer, who collaborates in the theft of a Goya painting, teaming up with Vincent Cassel’s generically European gangster. After being hit on the head during the theft he manages to forget where exactly he’s stashed the stolen painting, and Cassel employs Rosario Dawson’s unrealistically attractive hypnotherapist to try and retrieve it. It’s quite a convoluted set-up, but it’s one that allows Boyle to exploit dreamscapes and the fragmentary narrative of human consciousness. Just as Slumdog Millionaire is a patchwork of the human experience through the eyes of children growing up in India, Trance is a patchwork built of various threads of time, life and memory.

The film turns out to be a very visceral, seedy and exciting version of the old heist story. This isn’t a film that will be up for Oscars, instead Boyle is having a lot of fun, messing around with a great cast and an exciting story. McAvoy is becoming one of my favourite leading men and, alongside Cassel and the underused Dawson, he delivers an impactful performance in a film that is exactly the sort of schlocky fun that Welcome to the Punch endeavoured, fruitlessly, to be.

Fun, thrilling and more fucked up than you’re expect from the director of Slumdog Millionaire. A bit of a treat.

Title: Trance
Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson
Running Time: Quite trim
Certificate: A very hard 15

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