Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Video review: "Trance"

There are plenty of dumb movies, a few smart movies, and even fewer too-smart movies. “Trance” is one of the latter.

This twisty psychological thriller from director Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is full of fake-outs and never-minds. The film spends so much time fooling the audience, it forgets to really engage us or make us care about the people we’re watching.

The trio of main characters end up as chess pieces, moved around for the convenience of the plot.

James McAvoy plays Simon, an art auctioneer who gets beaten into a coma during the botched robbery of a famous, valuable painting. He wakes up with amnesia about the event, which doesn’t sit well with Franck (Vincent Cassel), the dogged head thief. He and his goons pay Simon a visit and put the squeeze on him.

Turns out Simon was in cahoots with them all along, but now he can’t remember where he stashed the painting. They turn to Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), a psychiatrist and hypnotist, to help him pore through his memories for a clue.

This unlocks all sorts of strange stuff going on in the mind of Simon, who may not be the mild-mannered schlub he appears to be. Soon there’s a love triangle and a three-way competition for the loot in the offing.

Boyle’s visual style is hyperkinetic and gorgeous. But you’ll probably end up feeling more dizzy than entertained.

Bonus features are sumptuous. They include deleted scenes and a “Trance Unraveled” easter egg. Plus a making-of documentary and several featurettes on hypnotherapy, the film’s distinct visual look, a final script rewrite and other topics.

The Blu-ray also has a retrospective of Boyle’s movies and “Eugene,” a short comedic film by Spencer Susser.



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