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Film review: Trance

by Dan Jordan

Age Certification: 15

Writers: Joe Ahearne, John Hodge

Director: Danny Boyle

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Starring: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel

Rating: ****

It’s usually the case that we as people follow only our own directions, with our ability to victimise or harm others being staunchly repressed. In this respect, we deny part of our identity. Trance turns the cinema screen into a mirror, as all truly great films do, revealing this to us by forcefully breaking down the perceptions we have that we are completely innocent through an involving and explosively cool story as well as a swaggering command of mystifying cinematography.

Simon (James McAvoy) has forgotten where he put the painting he helped steal. This understandably irks his dodgy compatriots, whose multi-million pound payday is delayed by trying to beat, cut, or otherwise force the truth of the painting’s location out of him. When these delicate techniques fail, they resort to using a professional hypnotist (Rosario Dawson) to get their precious information. Through the rigorous and surreal challenges to Simon’s senses, a plan of jealousy, subterfuge and false self-awareness comes to light while each participant in the escapade scramble for the upper hand.

Trance is as delinquent as its central art thieves. We identify with Simon so quickly through the use of voice-over that it feels like a part of us has been kidnapped and placed firmly inside the film. We are taken into the story and hidden away just as the priceless painting is. So, we try and find a way clear to reclaim part of our identity that has been stolen. This search we are led on is not easy by any means, disoriented as we are by the smokescreen of dynamism wafting through every facet of the film.

It’s also easy to add GBH to Trance’s criminal record. The hard bass beats of the score serve to knock us concussed, giving the edifying camera angles, enticing use of neon lights and bizarre, hallucinogenic scenarios of the world inside Simon’s mind a sense of uneasy delirium. Still, this altered perspective is as gripping in the less action packed moments as the high-octane, joyously violent sequences nearing the film’s end.

While the lavishly over-the-top violence we see in Trance may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s still a great opportunity to take all the toughest people you know down a peg via the mental thrashing it delivers. Staggering out of the theatre, you’ll be hard pressed to find a painkiller more satisfying than the euphoria produced by this top class thriller.

 ** Click here to check Odeon Leicester film showing times **

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