Danny Boyle is certainly an accomplished and versatile director. Here, he takes on perhaps his most ambitious film. At first glance, Trance may seem like a straight forward thriller. It is in the execution that things get complicated. James McAvoy plays Simon, a silent art auctioneer who becomes involved in a heist from his own auction house. He teams up with Franck (Vincent Cassel), a gangster who assembles the robbery. They manage to steal a painting worth $27 million dollars. Simon plans a double-cross and takes the painting and hides it. After Franck confronts him and knocks him on the head, Simon forgets where he hid the painting. Simon (per Franck’s advice) then undergoes hypnosis to try to remember where he hid the painting. Rosario Dawson plays Elizabeth. She is a hypnotist, Simon discovers her name in a directory after Franck forces him to look for one. A relationship develops between Simon and Elizabeth and he slowly tries to piece trace back where he hid the painting.
In lesser hands, Trance would’ve been a disaster. There are far too many movies out there that are needlessly complicated for no other reason than being so. Trance is quite complicated at times, but Boyle keeps a brisk pace and sharp direction throughout. I was always involved in the story, not knowing what twists or turns it would take next. The cast also does a fine job here too. McAvoy has the trickiest of roles. We are never sure how much Simon knows and if everything’s in Simon’s head or the real thing. He keeps intrigued throughout. Things do get more than a little bizarre, but Boyle manages to not go too far in that direction that he loses us. I enjoyed that the film offers more than meets the eye. What appears a thriller on the surface, is far from it. I had seen this film once before reviewing it. It also improves on a second viewing where we can see the pieces all fit in place a little better. Trance might not be for everyone, but it is definitely worth a look as it offers strong entertainment value. It was overlooked during its limited theatrical release, but hopefully will find a new life on DVD and Blu -Ray.
Video: How’s it look?
We get a 2.40:1 HD transfer here and it is strong, but colors a bit more muted than I’m used to. Maybe this was intentional, but it just wasn’t as bright as I was expecting. There are plenty of strong visuals in this film and Fox has done a fine job reproducing things appropriately. Definition is still strong and detail is sharp. Vincent Cassel sports some a rather scruffy beard in this film and each individual hair stands out in sharp detail.
Audio: How’s it sound?
We get a DTS HD 7.1 track here. The soundtrack jumps up and down at various times throughout the film. This is fine since this is intentional. There is plenty of strong atmosphere background noise here. All channels get a lot of good use. There’s a car crash towards the end of the film that gives the rear channels plenty of usage. We can hear the tires screeching and little drops of debris in the background. Dialogue is always sharp and detailed too. There is a lot of music in this film and that comes across strong here as well. Just like the transfer, this track will please fans.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Fox has given us plenty of goodies here, including a very nice retrospective on director Danny Boyle. This release is a 1 disc set and comes with a digital copy insert.
The power of suggestion (38:00 total run time) This is broken up into 4 smaller featurettes. Danny’s film noir, Hypnotherapy, The look and The final rewrite. These are all above average looks at various aspects of the film. My favorite was The Final Rewrite, it gives great notes on how a film changes over the course of editing.
Deleted Scenes (16:13) We get seven scenes here, most are just extended bits. They are fun to see, but deserved deletion.
Danny Boyle Retrospective (14:56) This is a nice look back over several of Danny’s films and his thoughts on all of them. He doesn’t hold back here, offering his honest opinions on all of the films as well as making them.
Eugene – This is a 13 minute short film and quite frankly, is just bizarre. It shows a man who is staying in a hotel room and he receives a magical computer. There’s no commentary or intro as to why it appears on this disc.
Theatrical Trailer – This is self-explanatory.
Sneak Peak (11:47) is just trailers for other Fox films.