Sunday, May 5, 2013

Trance: Danny Boyle's "Inception" (Without the Special Effects!)

May 5, 2013

An art auctioneer suffers amnesia when a robbery of a Goya masterpiece went wrong. A hypnotherapist was recruited to jog the memory out of him. Thus begins the multi-layered puzzle that is "Trance". I could not say more about the story as this remains for you to watch the unfolding of each scene that complicates the one before it.

Danny Boyle was very much in the news in the past few years because of his "Slumdog Millionaire" as well as his London Olympics gig. Now he returns to the big screen directing this fascinating Rubik's cube of a film, and that itself makes this film an event to witness.

James McAvoy plays Simon, the art auctioneer with a huge gambling debt caught in a bigger web, with the necessary cluelessness and helplessness. In fact, I could imagine Boyle's "trainspotting" discovery Ewan McGregor in this role had it been done ten years ago. 

Rosario Dawson lends her exotic appeal as hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb. It was her character that provides this film that complex structure which would keep the audience wondering which is reality and which is just a trance. She was credible as femme fatale, treading that delicate balance between good and bad, realistically keeping the two other male characters guessing at her real intentions. Her brave moment of frontal nudity was key to how the story turns, not gratuitous. 

Vincent Cassel plays Franck, the ruthless mastermind of the art heist. His character would have been a one-dimensional bad guy in a lesser actor's hands. Here Cassel gives Franck another level of what seems to be vulnerability, or then again, maybe not.

Fans of suspenseful film noir and of films that make you think will enjoy "Trance". I am sure many fans of this film will watch it again to try and get it the second or third time around. Boyle has given us "Inception" without the grand special effects. So good. Must-watch.

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