Having never seen any other Danny Boyle directed film all the way through prior to Trance, it is hard to say exactly where this latest effort ranks within his filmography. Even from just looking at portions of his past films though, some distinguishing characteristics do stand out. Boyle’s movies have a kind of restless quality to them, mixed with a raw energy and an organic sense of human emotion. Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, in particular, seem to possess these traits considerably.
Trance, with its “nothing is what it seems” attitude, follows suit. Its authorship is quite particular which is partially why a synopsis will go unwritten here. Presumably, Trance is much better viewing without knowing its outline beforehand. It unfolds like three layers of stories wrestling with another until the least predictable outcome is produced. With earnestness covering most of it and just enough humor to maintain a non-depressing experience, it hurdles through, while exploring the world and some specific characters in it via a distorted lens.
James McAvoy as Simon, is appropriately intense and consistent. He plays a man struck with confusion, anger, and deep frustration, significantly well. Rosario Dawson as Elizabeth is soft, subtle, and has just enough mystery to her to keep us unsure about her intentions.Vincent Cassel plays Franck, a relentless criminal, so naturally and seriously, you would think it was the actor’s second profession. He has a screen charisma that continues to benefit him tremendously.
Trance is an unusual maze of a movie. Its constant meandering feeds its force. Its three leading actors handle the material with ease and care and despite their amoral characters’ mistakes and wrongdoings, they are not hard to like. This strength is supplemented by the fact that Boyle’s latest film does something most of today’s movies rarely do anymore. It morphs into a narrative that is almost completely unpredictable. Trance’s simple beginning in no way prepares or foreshadows its convoluted finale, making the story’s unfolding all the more exciting and absorbing to see play out, not to mention the movie has a seductive soundtrack that is very Shazam-worthy.
The film is chock full of talent. It has got a winning cast, an inspired screenplay by Joe Ahearne and John Hodge and direction by a gifted filmmaker who believes in the brilliant absurdities of the story as much he trusts his audience to accept them. For Trance‘s tale is unspooled in such a hypnotically satisfying manner that almost all its flaws are largely lost to its haze of good intentions.