Review: Trance (2013, Danny Boyle)

2013-04-09-trance_castRATING: 5/10

Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel, Danny Sepani, Matt Cross, Wahab Sheik
Screenplay: Joe Ahearne & John Hodge

“Trance” is an example of a film with so much potential but goes down the drain because the filmmakers weren’t able to fully showcase the talents of their cast and were more interested in visual storytelling then emotional storytelling. Danny Boyle, director of the Academy Award Best Picture winner “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008) has been on a string of weak films that turns up to be a collection of one dimensional characters with a plot that could have been interesting, but is presented in possibly the most boring way possible.

That’s unfortunately the basic downfall of a film like ‘Trance”, which had a compelling and rather interesting story that wasn’t presented in the best possible way. We follow the story of Simon (James McAvoy), a gambling addicted art auctioneer who throws a heist for reasons unknown. When his goon teammates, lead by French actor Vincent Cassel, want to know where the $24 million dollar painting is, Simon is completely a blank as he is knocked out during the heist. In desperation, the team hire a contriving hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson) to try a squeeze out the location of the valuable piece of art.

In all honestly, the film started out very strong. The narration done by James McAvoy in the opening sequence was spot on, and got the viewers excited and on their feet. We enter a world of heist and high-end robberies only to be left with a twist that felt like it was trying a bit too hard to be shocking. I know that’s what twists are for, but when you feel like it is trying too hard, can that be considered a bad twist? McAvoy’s talent is hardly recognizable under Danny Boyle’s direction as he slumps around the screen without any true emotions and becomes an unconvincing male lead. McAvoy has lost his gift for choosing good projects that exemplify his acting talents, instead he chooses uninteresting roles he can do in his sleep.

Cassel and Dawson were not very good either. The french actor’s confused accent became quite confusing to endure in an one hour and forty minute storyline. And can someone please tell him to stop relieving his “Ocean’s” days because it’s not working anymore. Dawson runs around the screen, reading her lines. Nothing more.

Danny Boyle’s passion has gone out the window, in my opinion. Don’t take that as an offence because I still feel like he’s very talented. But Mr. Boyle’s heart is truly in projects where his passion is in. It showed in “Slumdog” as he had the hardest time getting it on the silver screen. “Trance” seems like a filler movie in his career. Of course, it’s beautifully shot though. What Danny Boyle film isn’t it? If the film was taken in an entirely different direction (and maybe replacing Cassel and Dawson) they it might really turn out to be something swell. The writing was smart, and kept the film moving (even if  it’s in a slow pace). It takes more then a movie where actor’s read their scripts to make it good.

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