Film Review: Trance


With abundant twists and turns, Danny Boyle’s psychological thriller Trance is absorbing and unpredictable.

Auctioneer Simon is taught the protocol in case of a heist at the prestigious auction house where he works. When an attempt is made to steal a valuable painting, Simon follows the routine. A run in with the criminals leaves him unable to remember what happened, and leaves the criminals demanding a painting…

Trance is a thriller which makes the viewer increasingly question everything they see as the film progresses. Director Danny Boyle plays with the audience’s perception, and keeps them guessing over the authenticity of what is being projected. The narrative blurs the line between actuality and the imagined. Trance has a number of layers which makes it unpredictable. It is this aspect that grips the viewer’s attention.

It is difficult to decipher the characters in Boyle’s film. This confusion enters the plot within the first twenty minutes or so. Viewers are never quite sure whether to take scenes or perceived motivations at face value. As elements of the narrative shift frequently and rapidly, it is difficult to know who to root for, particularly given the criminal nature of the activities.

The cinematography in Trance is a highlight. Use of lighting, particularly artificial lighting, really sets the mood. A number of the effects used in the film are also great. Boyle’s film uses music to good effect. Set in London, the depiction of the city has a level of authenticity often missing from other London-centred movies.

Performances from James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel are excellent. Given the ambiguous nature of the characters in the film, the actors do well to render their performances believable.

If you are looking for a film to switch off to, then Trance will not be for you. For everyone else, it is certainly recommended.