Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Apr 5th, 2013

FILM: Trance

TranceA provocative mental rush of disjointed events, Trance, the latest from British chamillion Danny Boyle, revives the role of the femme fatale. Here’s a film that cue’s Hitchcock’s 1945 chart classic Spellbound, the tale of a brilliant, but aloof psychoanalyst, played by Ingrid Bergman. She falls in love with her patient and helps him uncover the details of a murder locked up in his subconscious. Boyle, however flirts with hypnotherapy via the enticing Rosario Dawson, as he updates the classic film noir themes – betrayal, moral uncertainty, and sexual tension. Here, we fall in love with the genre all over again.

The story starts with Simon (James McAvoy), a fine art auctioneer, who find himself partnered with a violent gang, to steal a Goya painting worth millions of dollars, but during the heist he endures a blow to the head. He awakes with no memory of where he’s hidden the painting. After his hostile collaborators torture him senseless, Frank (Vincent Cassel) the gang’s leader skeptically resorts to the aid of hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) to explore the saturnine corners of Simon’s mind.

Dawson, who rigorously investigated the conversional practice of hypnotherapy for the role, delivers, in my opinion, the best performance of her career. Executing monologue after monologue, complete with quick wit. “Maybe she’s the protagonist maybe she’s the villain, but she’s anything but weak.” brags Dawson. “It’s still very much a boys film.”

During the whirlwind of twists, I found myself asking, who exactly is the protagonist? Who should I be rooting for? For nothing is what it seems. “There’s a richness to it that gives you more and more layers and depth.” says Dawson, “Danny gives you these Easter eggs throughout the film that will be appreciated when you watch the film a second and a third time.”

He’s delineated a mind puzzle that questions and scrutinizes identity, sanity and discernment by means of the altered state of hypnotic trance. When we sat down with Boyle he beamed with enchantment for the praxis. “In a way, It’s my job as a filmmaker to hypnotize the audience, to make them forget where they are, to implant experiences in their minds.” He continued, “We wanted to dance around all these big questions about consciousness and unconsciousness and which is in control. You think you’re in control of everything, but there are areas where you’re not. Some part of you knows, but your conscious mind doesn’t even know what you’re going to say next! That fascinates me.” As we get closer to discovering the whereabouts of the Goya, it becomes apparent that Simon’s mind is hiding so much more than a painting. Giving an ending that no one sees coming.

Trance, directed by Danny Boyle and starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson is open in theaters nationwide.

About the Author

- Los Angeles Writer. Lover of words.

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FILM: Trance