Schizophrenic Movie Experience
Release Date: April 05, 2013
Runtime: 101 minutes
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures/News Corp.
Director: Danny Boyle
Producer: Christian Colson
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch, Chairman/CEO, News Corp.
Chase Carey, President/COO, News Corp.
Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley, President/COO, Fox Searchlight Pictures
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
10201 West Pico Blvd., Bldg. 38
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000; Fax: (310) 369-2359
The movie opens with narration by Simon (James McAvoy), as he recounts his part in a spectacularly planned art heist of a Goya painting worth more than $20 million. However, when Simon’s knocked out by gang leader, Franck (Vincent Cassel), as part of the getaway plan, he winds up having amnesia and can’t recall where he hid the painting.
This leads Simon to be tortured by his gang as they pull out his fingernails. He then offers to see a hypnotist he knows, in the hope they can jog his memory and help him find the painting. The hypnotist, a beautiful woman named Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), figures out Simon’s endangered. She offers to help him find the painting and escape the gang. However, when Elizabeth meets Franck, she starts to believe Franck is, in fact, the nicer man.
From there, the twists keep coming, and TRANCE exerts a strong pull on viewers eager to see how the story’s resolved. Director Danny Boyle has returned to his hard-edged crime-story roots (SHALLOW GRAVE, TRAINSPOTTING) in TRANCE, after a string of movies with strong elements of faith or uplift in them (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and 127 HOURS).
TRANCE is very close in spirit to the time-bending, complex, violent narratives of fellow filmmaker Quentin Tarantino (PULP FICTION and DJANGO UNCHAINED) but it’s more focused and assured than Tarantino’s sprawling works. It moves dramatically from its first moment to the last. It also offers a fascinating look at the practice of hypnotism, and whether it works or not. The actors, especially Dawson and McAvoy, deliver multilayered performances that cover the emotional bases with ease.
All this makes the movie’s excessive content even more disappointing. Also, the fact that it centers on people who will do nearly anything, no matter how criminal, to get their hands on an expensive painting renders TRANCE to be a largely amoral and immoral enterprise. Along the way, viewers are subjected to excessive amounts of foul language, violence, sex, and nudity. TRANCE may be a superbly crafted thriller, but it’s unacceptable viewing, with excessively obscene, violent content.
TRANCE is absorbing and well acted. It’s like a Quentin Tarantino movie, but more focused, less rambling. Sadly, that means it also has an excessive amount of gratuitous offensive content, including graphic sex scenes, bloody violence and nudity. Also, the movie shows that crime can indeed pay. In fact, the characters will do nearly anything, no matter how criminal, to get their hands on the priceless Goya painting. TRANCE may be a superbly crafted thriller, but it’s unacceptable viewing, with no redemptive content.