Trance 2013 Movie Scene James McAvoy as Simon looking directly at the camera

Trance [2013]

Trance sort of snuck up on me and appeared out of nowhere, demanding attention. Directed by none other than Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire) and starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, and Rosario Dawson, I thought that this is a movie about trance music or something like that. It turned out to be a psychological thriller about hypnosis and the heist of a very valuable painting. ’nuff said. Anywhoo, I started watching this movie fairly wasted, expecting to easily follow the story. However, as time went on, I was having more and more trouble catching up. People are under hypnosis or telling stories about events that took place sometime in the past, but from their subjective perspective. 

So you’ll need to figure out what is fiction and what is relevant to the story. And you just know there will be surprising twists and turns. This just means that Trance requires your full and undivided attention. And probably that I should not drink and smoke weed so much. A balanced approach is the key but that’s not the point right now. I mean, we’re here to talk about movies and not other things. What I wanted to say is that if you decide to give yourself to Trance, it will reward you greatly. The story is engaging and the characters are even better. It feels a bit similar to Nolan’s masterpiece Inception.

Now there’s another movie that requires your full attention. Trance is also a movie offering an insider’s look into the world of auction houses and the expensive items they deal with. We’re talking about some of the most stunning paintings ever produced, just to be clear. I hate those rich pricks and the other pricks who work with them. However, this setting provides a nice break from all the bank safes in other heist movies. I remember watching The Maiden Heist a couple of years ago featuring a similar story. 

Simon works at a major auction house, dealing with paintings and other pricey works of art. He’s a good guy and exactly this could cost him his life. A gang of highly skilled thieves barges in during the auction of one of the most valuable paintings in the world, Goya’s Witches in the Air, and steals it. Simon tried to stop the robbery but ultimately failed. The robbers left him a farewell gift in a form of a severe head fracture. A severe head fracture left him with temporary amnesia. However, this is only the beginning of his problems.

Led by the likable and relaxed McAvoy, the cast of Trance deserves a standing ovation. Everyone was excellent, and Danny Boyle showed us that he can make a good movie in any given genre, his versatility is truly amazing. This is only amplified by the fact that the script, without Boyle’s neo-noir storytelling, is quite simplistic and reminiscent of the eighties TV movies. Another reason for a standing ovation is the beautiful and not-too-shy Rosario Dawson and her full-frontal nudity. Twice, like I wasn’t having enough trouble focusing…

Ah Rosario, I remember you from Kids, you sure have grown up. In the end, I think she missed that evil mindset her character was supposed to be in. But hey, I’m not complaining, just noticing. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Trance, I first recommend you check out Femme Fatale. And then you can move on to Filth, also starring James McAvoy.

Director: Danny Boyle

Writers:  Joe Ahearne, John Hodge

Cast: James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson, Danny Sapani, Spencer Wilding, Wahab Sheikh

Fun Facts: Rosario Dawson beat Scarlett Johansson, Mélanie Thierry, Eva Green and Zoe Saldana for the role of Elizabeth.


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