‘Trance’ Review Roundup

Trance, coming to theaters April 5, has been reviewed. See what the critics said about it.

Trance is a film about an art auctioneer who gets mixed up with criminals, and enlists the aid of a hypnotherapist to find a lost painting. The film stars James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel, and is directed by Danny Boyle.

The auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy) is being forced into hypnosis at the mercy of the sultry Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) at the request of Franck (Vincent Cassel), a notorious gangster.

At the beginning of the film, the gangster is attempting to make Simon hand over a painting, at which point he is given an empty briefcase and an explanation he doesn’t like. For this, Franck knocks Simon unconscious, rendering him an amnesiac in the process. When beating the truth out of Simon gets them nowhere, Simon takes a more inventive approach. Hence, the hypnotherapist.

The plot of Trance seems to toy with you as it turns on a hair, making nothing clear, but this film seems aware of how unclear it is, even to the point of being intentionally confusing. It takes the absolutes of right and wrong and distorts them so much that you can’t tell who you’re supposed to be rooting for. As the film progresses, James McAvoy’s Simon makes it less and less clear whether he’s telling the hypnotherapist the truth, or a skewed version from the point of view of trying to pull one over on us.

James McAvoy narrates the film through twists that don’t let you take it easy. In one infamous twist, it turns out Simon was the inside man for the caper to steal the Goya painting from its frame. It’s made clear that the film and its thugs don’t believe in amnesia at all, but Trance encourages a willing suspension of disbelief when it comes to far more elaborate feats of mind-control. The therapist even demands to know who put Simon up to this, and the film just gets messier.

All in all, it appears Trance is trying to be a film noir Inception, and is struggling to get its own story straight. And it seems intentional.

What are your thoughts on what the critics said about Trance?

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