Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassell
Watch Trance online in the UK: iTunes / TalkTalk TV / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
After a highly successful 2012 on the BBC (little thing called the Olympics), Danny Boyle cemented himself as a maverick national treasure by turning down the offer of a knighthood. Everyone was excited to see what he’d do next. Trance was not what they expected.
The film stars James McAvoy – who, with two films out already this year and a powerhouse turn as Macbeth onstage, must be a bit knackered – Vincent Cassell and Rosario Dawson and is a mind-bending thriller of art heists, hypnosis and gratuitous nudity to suit all preferences.
McAvoy plays Simon, a Scottish auctioneer with a gambling problem. Vincent Cassell plays Frank, a French thief with a missing painting problem. And Rosario Dawson plays Elizabeth, a hypotherapist, who might be the answer to all of their problems. Don’t be put off by the DVD cover, though; she’s at the centre of the triptych for a variety of reasons, and romantic they all ain’t.
The simple premise gives way to a complex plot – although, if you look closely, it’s as riddled with holes as Frank’s goons no doubt will be – but the whole affair is so slick and polished (and overlaid with a pumping Rick Smith score) that you suspend disbelief and just enjoy the ride. Double-crossers double cross, Frank and Simon tussle for both the painting and Elizabeth’s attention, and everyone tries not to fall over when Boyle pulls the rug out from under them every time we think we’ve got the film figured out.
It’s an awesome and blisteringly-paced spectacle that grips you and won’t let you look away, until Boyle snaps his fingers and lets you do so.