Live Action (Short Subject) Nominees

Trance

tranceDanny Boyle is one of those wonderful directors who isn’t satisfied in sticking with one genre, which is fine since he happens to be great at so many different kinds of films, though the common denominator is his audacious sense of visual style. Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, and now Trance would be on my “best of” list for him. Trance probably belongs more in the Trainspotting column than any other. It is a fantastic mind-bendy, crime thriller that keeps you off kilter through the whole ride.

Simon (James McAvoy) works at a very high-end auction house in London. It is his job, in the case of a robbery, to take the most valuable art to the vault. Of course with all the high tech equipment that they have, that is never going to happen, of course until it does, just after a Goya painting has been sold for £27.5 million. And Simon does his job, except he gets hit over the head by the head robber, Franck (Vincent Cassel). And when it turns out the Goya isn’t in the package he stole, Franck and his henchmen decide to make Simon tell them where he hid it. Only that big conk on the head has made him forget. So they take him to a hypnotherapist, Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson). And that is where it gets bendy. She gets inside his head, finds out about the painting, and makes herself a partner in finding it. From then on all bets are off about what is real and what is hypnotic suggestion. Revealing more would only ruin the ride, but rest assured it does all finally comes together and makes perfect sense. Trance-Movie-Review

I kept thinking about Inception when I was watching, and the way planting thoughts can sometimes be more productive than revealing those already existing. Trance is a much more accessible film though. Mainstream Chick would probably even enjoy it, except for a couple of violent moments where even I had to avert my gaze. But for the rest of the time, I was transfixed. Boyle has an amazing style that keeps the frame full and your attention from flagging for an instant. He was smart to cast such watchable stars. James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, and Rosario Dawson form a wonderful triangle, with their motives and loyalties in a constant state of flux. As easy on the eyes as McAvoy is, Cassel (Mesrine, Black Swan, A Dangerous Method) made the film for me; he’s my absolute favorite bad boy. I’d recommend Trance for general audiences, and it would make a great date flick, too. See it in a theater with a good sound system, because it has a great soundtrack.

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