After an art heist gone wrong & a gash on the head resulting in his memory loss, art auctioneer James McAvoy finds himself in a hairy situation with a group of criminals. Rosario Dawson is the hypnotherapist hired to unlock the mystery of a missing painting buried deep in McAvoy’s mind – to lay things bare & help him out of a close shave with the criminals.
Okay – I’ll try to take this review seriously now…
I like most of Danny Boyle’s films but wouldn’t call myself a huge fan. 28 Days Later is by far my favorite and I also really like Shallow Grave, Sunshine & Trainspotting. I haven’t watched 127 Hours or Slumdog Millionaire (they don’t really appeal to me) but, obviously, Slumdog won lots of Oscars. So… Maybe I went to Trance with expectations that were too high as he’s an Oscar winning director with some films I’ve really enjoyed. What I’m taking ages to say is this: Trance was a huge disappointment.
The movie starts with an art auction & James McAvoy’s art auctioneer telling us in voiceover what you do in the event of an attempted robbery – you get the most valuable painting to a safe place & it’s his job to do this. I thought this movie started out GREAT. The art heist right at the beginning was very exciting and I liked the music and everything was all “slick and cool” and I was like “Yep, this is a Danny Boyle film”. If only the rest of the movie had lived up to the beginning…
During the heist, McAvoy’s character is getting the main painting (Goya’s “Witches In The Air”, worth £25 million in the film if I remember correctly) to its safe place when he’s confronted by one of the thieves (Vincent Cassel) and, after a brief struggle, gets knocked unconscious and develops amnesia. The painting disappears and only McAvoy’s character knows the truth of what’s happened to it. Unfortunately, he now can’t remember. This is where, as said earlier, Rosario Dawson comes in as the hypnotherapist who tries to help McAvoy to recover the painting.
Sounds like a great plot, doesn’t it? It is! But then it twists and turns and twists and turns some more and you get the whole “Who’s really the good/bad guy/girl? Who’s on whose side? Who’s being double-crossed? Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? What parts of this movie are real and which bits are just part of a hypnosis-induced trance???”. All of which are fine as long as the many twists & turns are handled well (and, more importantly, you CARE enough to follow all the twists & turns). This is where Trance failed for me. I just didn’t care.
The movie becomes a complicated mess. And I didn’t care enough about any of the characters to try to follow along. It’s like Inception done poorly (no trouble following that one – it was good enough to hold my interest). And the criminals were a bit like if those in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels had been completely uninteresting & humorless. Yeah – good description I think: Trance is like an inferior cross between Inception & Lock Stock.
As for the actors in this, everyone was “fine”. Vincent Cassel was the only one I really felt was the right fit for the role. James McAvoy was okay but just not QUITE right. I don’t know who may have been better in the role, though – I think the decision to cast him wasn’t a bad one. Rosario Dawson also didn’t feel quite right. She did well enough. Meh. I just don’t care! I don’t think anything is the fault of the actors anyway – I think it’s the script that’s to be blamed.
Before I trash this too much (I’m feeling kind of bad – I really do love 28 Days Later!), here’s the good points:
– The Art. I wish I had any sort of knowledge about art. I liked seeing the artwork in this. Obviously Goya’s “Witches In The Air” is the one the whole plot revolves around but there’s a good (trance) scene later on showing some other famous missing paintings. And the overall look of the movie is good (of course – it’s a professionally made Danny Boyle film). The only thing I hated was Rosario Dawson’s ORANGE apartment (at least I think it was her place? Saw this four days ago & already forgetting it – the sign of a not-very-good movie). Seriously, I hate the color orange! What does that say about me? Love green! Someone analyze me. Never mind – I’m sure I can just Google that. 😉
– The Music. Danny Boyle is known for good music in his films. I think the music in both 28 Days Later & Sunshine is especially fantastic. And, of course, Trainspotting! Once again, Boyle worked with Rick Smith of Underworld for Trance. The music in Trance isn’t quite as good or as memorable as in the other Boyle films I mentioned but it’s still pretty good. And there’s an UNKLE song in it! Yay!
Summary: Starts out great but then turns into a complicated mess. Slick, cool and stylish as to be expected from a Danny Boyle movie but it would be nice if that could go along with a good script and characters I care about in any sort of way. So… Meh. I hate saying that about a Danny Boyle movie but, unfortunately, that’s what it is. Other than that one part…
Holy full-frontal female nudity!!!!
Boom! WTF? That suddenly came out of nowhere! I’m not a prude (seriously – look at a couple of my posts over the last couple of weeks). But Bloody hell… Was that really necessary?! And then they gave a really pathetic “reason” for having that in there. Ha! Excuses excuses. So the movie starts with a gash on the head and then… Well. Yeah. Not going there. You want to see it now, though. Don’t you. 😉
My Rating: 6/10
UNKLE – Hold My Hand