Bring it to me.

From director Danny Boyle (127 Hours, Trainspotting), a psychological thriller following fine art auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy) who teams with a criminal gang (led by Vincent Cassel) to steal a valuable Goya painting. When the audacious heist goes wrong and Simon forgets where he stashed the artwork, they turn to a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson) to help him remember. Deep in his jumbled psyche the boundaries between reality and hypnotic suggestion blur.

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Flicks Review

Director Danny Boyle's hyper-kinetic filmmaking style has rarely been better applied than in this heady (in every sense of the word) post-Inception thriller.... More

An irresistible set-up – London art thief forgets where he stashed a stolen painting and turns to a hypnotherapist to help him remember – plays out with tantalising ambiguity as allegiances shift and reality comes into question.

The main character's fragile mental state is greatly enhanced by the film's visuals, and James McAvoy does a good job of seeming in over his head. Rosario Dawson is positively radiant, and it's very satisfying to see an English-langauge film (Black Swan aside) make proper use of French actor Vincent Cassel for a change. He's marvellously slimy here, and the film delights in playing around with the true nature of his character.

The London presented in Trance feels cinematic in a way that I can't recall experiencing since perhaps Boyle's own 28 Days Later in 2002. This is a Hitchcockian neo-noir in an English setting – I was in movie nerd heaven.

There are elements to Trance that are confusing, but it's a very capable filmmaker pulling the strings and I never once questioned the choices he made.

Trance's resolution is genuinely shocking and perhaps a touch problematic considering what came before, but by that point I was willing to follow the movie anywhere. This is a must-see for anyone who loves having their perception challenged.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 23 ratings, 28 reviews
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Any movie concerning the manipulation of a character's mind is going to present an unreliable narrative. Inevitably the rug is going to be pulled from said character, usually upending the audience as well.

Danny Boyle's latest Trance is but one more film that tries to bait and switch us, but unfortunately the only effective twist in this tale is the rapid deterioration of an illogical but often gripping thriller into a sloppy and occasionally puerile mess, with a third act that lands with... More such a thud that any goodwill earned early on seems to be a hazy memory of a different film.

Trance tells the story of Simon (James McAvoy), an apparently naive auctioneer caught in the middle of a high stakes art heist who loses his memory after a crack on the head from the heel of a shotgun wielded by thief Franck (Vincent Cassel). Enter Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), the hypnotherapist hired by Franck to break through Simon's amnesia to reveal the location of a £25 million painting that vanished in the robbery.

The logic of the film is murky from the get go, but Boyle fires Trance out of the gate with such furious pace that allows little time to stop and pick apart the pseudo-scientific aspects of hypnotism as depicted here. Typically of the director, they style seems to take precedence over the substance, and a terrific soundtrack (all the better if you're fortunate enough to see the film in a Dolby Atmos theatre) contributes to the slickness of it all.

Truth be told, there's a lot in Trance that is pretty enjoyable. The cool neo-noir vibe works well despite the obvious cracks in the surface of the script.

Until, that is, the cracks become a gaping crevasse, torn open by the baffling decisions to hang a fairly significant story point on a frankly idiotic idea, and grind the relentless charge toward the climax to a halt with turgid exposition that makes little sense in the context of the story. It's simply bad writing, and the film has no time to recover, left instead with an ending that has zero real impact beyond the crushing confusion of it all.

Trance had the potential to see Danny Boyle to get back on track after a couple of minor works (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) that generated a lot of awards buzz but little enduring quality. It's disappointing to see a filmmaker with such a unique and varied catalogue of work hit a rough patch like this, but if you're waiting for a work that shakes Boyle from his slump, Trance just isn't it.


Trance starts off like a regular heist movie and progressively turned into something else, something less appealing. The pacing was perfect in the first 30 minutes, however as soon as the initial heist is over with everything slows down and meanders along like a senior citizen. There are some thrilling moments and the audience is never entirely sure what turn the story will take next. Those expecting an action-thriller heist movie should brace for more of a psychological-thriller. There is also... More some graphic violence and nudity that felt a little out of place and unnecessary, like it was only there for the shock value. Could've been a good genre piece, but falls short and turns into an average muddle of a movie.Hide

Although this isnt one of those easy to sit down & watch movies it kept me very entertained trying to work out what was going on. The casting/directing was fantastic. If you like Inception you will like this.

Danny Boyle returns to his day-job after the heady success of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. And it's clear he isn't about to let the ball drop with this crazy psychological thriller.

Whilst this is far from his greatest work, it's a sleek and classy piece of cinema. Sexy, intense, dark, and at times hard to follow, Trance succeeds because of three strong lead characters effectively taking us places we never thought we were going.

Rosario Dawson in particular does a sterling job... More as the hypnotherapist, and whilst I like James McAvoy, his performance did leave a bit to be desired. There's more twists and turns than a corkscrew, which does at times get annoying. But taking it on face value, there's a lot to enjoy here. It's a cool movie.

Did I understand it all? No.
Did I enjoy it? Absolutely!Hide

Danny Boyle has always seemed to me to be a film maker who has forgot to take his ritalin. Trance is no exception to this. There are some very cool parts of the movie and yes there are moments that you don't expect. One thing he always does though is get you engaged right from the opening shot.
It is very easy to follow, if you manage to stay awake you will get it, if you fall asleep then you might have an issue.
All of the cast are pretty good, Vincent Cassell is perhaps the most memorable.... More The chemistry in the cast is pretty good. There is a several concerning elements in the narrative and you would hope never to have a hypnotist like the Harley Street Hypnotist portrayed in the film.
In short, Trance is very enjoyable, if a tad violent in parts. Well worth a cheaper Tuesday ticket.Hide

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The Press Reviews

69% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Though it rings ever so slightly hollow as cool shades into callousness, this exercise in sexy suspense and brain-scrambling mystery is a dazzling, absorbing entertainment which shows off Danny Boyle’s mastery of complex storytelling and black, black humour. Full Review

  • Trance is a disappointment: a strident, chaotic, frantically overcooked film with an almost deafeningly intrusive ambient soundtrack. Full Review

  • Danny Boyle has great and plainly evident fun adding twists and curves and tunnels and endless style to his modern London noir Trance, but he makes so many left turns that the film turns in on itself rather than going anywhere. Full Review

  • Sprinting to the edge of preposterousness and back, this deliriously entertaining day-glo noir of fried brains and blown fuses denotes a director at the top of his game. Full Review

  • A trippy variation on the dream-within-a-dream movie, Boyle’s return-to-form crimer constantly challenges what audiences think they know, but neglects to establish why they should care. Full Review

  • The film plays like something Boyle could kick out in his sleep, all his supercool devices listlessly deployed in service of a mediocre wet dream. Full Review

  • Narratively, Trance is questionable, but Boyle and Hodges whisk past all the unlikely developments with enough verve and style to keep audiences from thinking too hard. Full Review

  • Mr. Boyle is a flamboyant visual stylist with a punk rocker's delight in anarchic jolts. His is a cinema of attraction and repulsion. Full Review

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