REVIEW: Trance

24 07 2013

TranceFor movies with labyrinthine plots, such as “Inception” or “Shutter Island,” rigorous structural complexities come with a necessary prerequisite: a desire to care and piece together a million-piece jigsaw moving at a mile per minute.  If we aren’t engaged in the story, the pieces will just sit on the coffee table forever.

That being said, the dots of Danny Boyle’s “Trance” will forever remain unconnected for me.  It’s a convoluted mess that seems to lack a lot of basic cohesiveness.  I was so unconvinced of its self-assuredness and basic integrity that I don’t want to take the effort to figure out if it’s even worth decrypting.

I’m surprised because I consider myself a big Danny Boyle fan, particularly “Slumdog Millionaire” and “127 Hours,” both of which moved me in profound ways.  He’s definitely still got it together stylistically, as “Trance” is an impressively edited trip of a film.  But a bunch of nice cuts don’t mean much if they don’t start creating a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

What’s ultimately assembled before our eyes is a brash bombardment of sound and fury, gaudy to the point of tastelessness.  As James McAvoy’s Simon undergoes hypnotherapy with Rosario Dawson’s Elizabeth, we’re flung down a rabbit hole of bent reality with no investment in the characters or the action.  Sound like a journey worth taking?

Boyle and screenwriter try to overcompensate with bombast, including a rather unnecessary and irrelevant flaunting of Dawson’s genitalia (and then they just throw in some James McAvoy nudity at the end just for fun).  The erotic skin show actually sums up so much of what’s wrong with “Trance” in the first place.  It’s an exclamation point to get your attention, which then reminds us that there was actually no sentence that preceded it.  While I’d like to trust Boyle, his film does not make a strong enough case for its audience to go in and clean up his mess themselves.  C2stars


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