Saturday, 10 August 2013

On The Airplane - Part 3: Hypnosis

The world loves films about the psychological nature of humans. Things like psychotic episodes, dreams, even psychopathic killers. Look at the popularity of Inception a few years ago. So let us explore the human mind all over again. This is Trance.

'Anyone can steal a piece of art,' we are told immediately. Simon (James McAvoy) works at an art auctioneers and the first rule, should a robbery take place, is do not try to be a hero. But when criminal Franck (Vincent Cassel) attempts to steal a £20 million piece of art, Simon breaks that rule. He rescues the painting and storing it somewhere but he is beaten into a state of amnesia directly afterwards. Simon finds himself in hot water when he can no longer remember the paintings location  but maybe with help from hypno-therapist, Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), all the secrets will be revealed. Perhaps too many secrets. 

Question reality...

Trance's cast is one of the bravest, boldest, and most brilliant of recent years. Cassel, known mostly for his harsh ballet teaching in Black Swan, is a triumph here as Franck. His character portrayal is so shady that it impossible to tell when Franck is truthful and when he is not. A charming antagonist and a wonderfully wicked character to watch. Dawson portrays Elizabeth such unnerving calm, again, raising questions about how trustworthy she is. Why unnerving? When you cannot trust your therapist, who can you trust? And McAvoy. A truly fantastic actor putting forward a truly fantastic performance as the lost, dazed, and confused Simon. His slow descent into madness (or possibly ascent to sanity) as his mind is manipulated until breaking point. Fear, anger, aggression, confusion, love; McAvoy gets it all spot on. 

What is real?

Danny Boyle is no stranger to making great films. He is the rare breed of director that can seem to do no wrong. He even directed the Olympic Opening Ceremony! Where is this man's flaw? Trance is not it. Firstly, it is visually gorgeous. The colour palette is tremendous, bringing out the most vibrant aspects of the rainbow. It is also extremely bold and brave, like the cast. Lots of sex and violence. The latter will cause fearful, squeamish cringing, the former may cause drooling. Another hit for Boyle, though the film itself is not without its issues. The problem with the a film with a complex plot as daring and mind boggling as Trance is that it does not come without its fair share of confusion. The plot twists will excite all the audience, but on the way, they will find themselves questioning what is really happening. No one wants to be made to feel slow by a film. 

It is smart, sexy, and completely psychotic. Hold on to your hats and keep your attention up. It needs is, but by golly is it worth it. A fast paced trip through the human mind. 

Best Bit?  As the film twists more than a roller coaster, it is difficult to say too much without spoiling anything. Go see it and find your own best bit. 


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