Sunday, 31 March 2013


Danny Boyle. Now officially a national treasure and icon. Before, he was just the man who made Ewan McGregor do things such as swim up through the worst toilet in the world... Now he's the bloke who made James Bond help the Queen to parachute out of a helicopter to open the Olympics.

Prepare to have yet another reason to worship at the alter of Danny.

His latest is one of those films where words are wholly inadequate to either describe what takes place or to convince you to take a seat and watch what unfolds without giving anything away. Trance is one of those manic movies - a "lean forwards in your seat and readily play 'guess the direction of the next plot twist' type of experience." Try and picture The Sixth Sense on steroids dating The Usual Suspects whilst fantasising about Inception and you will be ready to describe Danny Boyle's newest celluloid conundrum.

From the get-go, all seems to be familiar territory for those who have followed the films of Boyle. Flashes of his back catalogue are all present and correct - the stylised kinetics of The Beach, the catchy tunes of Trainspotting, the constant character reveals of Shallow Grave, the time-jumping framing of Slumdog Millionaire - all these previous sum parts make up a brand new whole to enjoy.

All seems straight forward with the opening salvo of McAvoy breaking the fourth wall and explaining directly to the viewer the challenges facing anyone thinking of trying to steal high-priced art. A quick flashback shows how easy it was to do a "snatch n grab" - all you needed was brawn and balls back in the day. As we, and he, find out, you still need those qualities but a whole lot more to pull off a heist nowadays. Here McAvoy emulates Boyle's original protege (McGregor) from Shallow Grave - all Scottish charm and smirks with an unhealthy dose of hysteria when the shit hits the fan. It's after this that things really do get intense, intriguing and immersive.

By saying that there's twists aplenty does ruin the possibility of the viewer letting it all just appear on their radar as the film makers intended. Knowing that there's a twist makes the audience purposely look out for it rather than have it unfold before their eyes but Trance constantly changes the ground under your feet so that even if you think that you're that clever, you will not be able to spot anywhere near half of them that present themselves during its 101 minute running time. Not unlike an Ocean's 11 plotline, the heist has several things going on simultaneously that only fall into place when all (well, mostly) is revealed just before the end credits roll. And just before that, all manner of clues and hints that were vaguely present before, become relevant and eye-opening as the secrets are viciously torn apart. Those "blink-an-you'll-miss-em" clues suddenly start to fall into place as the domino's, the cast and the walls of perception fall one-by-one.

Of course, plotline's alone do not a fantastic film make. Cassel and Dawson are superb in their roles as both victim and victor (depending on which part of the twist is being unveiled) and Boyle lets his eye and camera deliver angles and accents that only help add to the blissful confusion. Who else could make the M25 and other roads look like a red neon sign to the Devil from up above?

Brilliant and baffling in equal parts, this is Boyle back on form that anyone will love. Just like he has done on all of his efforts in the varied fields he's attempted, this is a top notch example of how a genre film can be. Go see, then see again. And then once more for the hell of it.

UK release date: 29.03.13
Certificate: 15

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