Trance (2013) (R)

My mind is blown!
Danny Boyle's new thriller "Trance" is astonishing and preposterous. If anything it takes most of its cues from "Inception"—though Christopher Nolan's movie was bloodless comparatively. "Trance" is a orgy of self-indulgence; and you know what? It was pretty amazing as such.
Danny Boyle's credentials just write themselves—after the Oscar win for "Slumdog Millionaire", he directed "127 Hours" and the London Olympics ceremony...impressive, no?
Yet "Trance" resembles "Trainspotting" more than any other Boyle picture. The entire movie is shot like one long dream sequence: fast edits, contradictions, one reveal after the's the kind of film that I just eat up.
Simon (James McAvoy) is an art auctioneer expert. The movie begins with a lecture about art thieves. Simon, looking right at the camera, tells us how easy it was to be an art thief in the past. You just had to have muscles and bravado.
Not so anymore.
The first thing you are told is that, in the unlikely case of a robbery, do not be a hero. Don't try to vanquish the bad guys with acts of ninja-like martial arts; because, like or not, you're an art auctioneer and not a master of kung-fu (no offense to any art auctioneers who are also masters of kung-fu...please don't hurt me).
In the, again unlikely, event of a robbery; the only thing you can do, if you can manage it, is find the most valuable piece and stow it somewhere safe. Don't panic, let the training kick in.
Naturally, the movie begins with a robbery taking place at an art auction. The thieves are after a witchy piece of modernistic art that is "sold" for over 25 million euros. Once the bidding has ended, men with smoke bombs storm the auction room and Simon quickly grabs the painting. He follows procedure and almost gets to stow the painting before he is stopped by one of the thieves.
A gun butt, some blood, and the main titles later—Simon is left confused and the thieves are left without a painting.
Where did the pricy painting go? Simon doesn't remember.
The rest of the movie is a race to get inside Simon's mind. Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) a hypnotist, is employed to try to extricate the lost memory of the painting.
She is kept out of the loop, they want her to find the painting in Simon's mind without realizing what she's doing.
From here on, it's your best guess for a complicated movie.
"Trance" looks just as good as "Slumdog Millionaire" did, maybe even better.
Anthony Dod Mantle returns as cinematographer...and let me tell you, if this doesn't earn him another Oscar nomination, something is definitely wrong.
The acting is all pretty good, McAvoy and Dawson are joined by Vincent Cassel who gives a solid performance as always.
Not many people liked "Trance", so I predict it will be forgotten at awards shows. If anything, it will only round out the minor awards like film editing and music—though it deserves recognition in both categories.
I hope to see Emeli Sandé and Rick Smith nominated for their song "Here it Comes"; but I'm not sure that's going to happen.
To attempt to describe "Trance" would be an exercise in futility...I wouldn't know where to begin. Being not terribly original and altogether unexpectedly sexual and's hard to justify my liking for the movie. Perhaps its the characters that morph, who have both nothing and everything to loose.
The idea behind the script is very fun, though not scientific. The lines aren't perfect...but this is a picture that you'll never forget.
The merciless, confusing short clips that never cease to intersect throughout the movie are gorgeous and maddening.
It's this year's more successful "Looper".
I think that, though it really tries to be "Inception",  it's not.
"Trance" is imperfect and glorious.

Score: 4 out of 4 stars

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