Trance, a new neo-noir crime thriller, has been hailed as a throwback to the gritty earlier work of Danny Boyle, the British director who rose to prominence in 1996 with Transpotting, an inventive drama about heroin addiction. Trance is a throwback all right, a twisty, hard-edged, amoral tale that is full of violence and drug-like hallucinatory sequences, though the hallucinations aren’t brought on by heroin but by hypnosis.
James McAvoy is an art auctioneer who gets involved with gangsters who want to make off with a famous painting. But the auctioneer gets hit in the head during the heist and loses his memory – he doesn’t remember what he did with the painting. That’s where Rosario Dawson comes in. She plays a hypnotherapist employed, after torture fails to work, to help poor McAvoy remember.
Most of the strikingly memorable scenes in this implausible and hopelessly confusing film take place inside McAvoy’s head. At least, I think they do. Like I said, things get confusing. There is a good movie in here somewhere, but as written it’s easy to lose track of whose head we’re inside of, what’s real and what’s imaginary and who is doublecrossing who at any given time.
All I know for sure is that the movie is no good, the lumpy script could have been pecked out by a writer on heroin and Dawson shows off her clean-shaven pubes not once but twice. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t hallucinating about that.