Danny Boyle has sat in the director's chair for some very memorable films including Trainspotting, 127 Hours, and A Life Less Ordinary. With Trance, he pulls together an extremely talented cast headlined by James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel for a wildly unpredictable trip through a high stakes criminal act and a whodunit noir experience that will keep you guessing all the way to the end.
Simon (McAvoy) is employed at a highly respected auction house in England and finds himself entangled in the attempted theft of a piece of art valued at over a quarter of a billion dollars. Franck (Cassel) is the mastermind behind the operation and, after the attempted heist ends up with everyone empty handed, he looks for a solution to discover a lost piece of art. Elizabeth (Dawson) is a hypnotherapist who is hired to uncover the one secret that has everyone searching for answers.
As the story progresses, each member of the trio realizes that things may not be exactly as they seem and everyone begins jockeying for position to take advantage of what they think are their own uncovered aces. Mind games literally become the order of the day from hypnotic acts of persuasion to subtle suggestions of motivation, all parties involved soon find themselves on a path that will either make them all rich, or will leave just one of them left standing.
This is the type of movie where if you get up to use the restroom or even so much as blink, you may end up lost in the tornado of deceptive acts that define the story's overall theme. You literally have to follow along with every move the principle characters make and, if you are alert enough to glance at a picture on a cell phone, or catch a sideways glance, you might be able to piece together this puzzling picture.
The strengths of the picture are the individual performances that Boyle manages to draw out of his top notch trio of powerhouse performers. McAvoy is especially good as he shows off a dramatic flair and style that keeps the audience riveted to his every move. Not to be outdone, I found it very hard to take my eyes off the screen every time Ms. Dawson was anywhere to be found as she is just so good and so beautiful in front of the camera. Cassel has established himself as a dramatic persona to be reckoned with and does nothing here to change that perception.
Ultimately, this is a movie that seems to gets lost trying to create such an intricate web of deception that, if not for the brilliant cast, could have easily fallen off the rails and the ending may leave you a little dazed and confused when the credits finally roll. Even with an A-list cast, this is nothing more than an overly glossy B-movie wrapped up in a little more style and flair than was really needed to make it work. As I said before, Danny Boyle has directed some very memorable movies, but unfortunately Trance will not be listed among them.