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Film Review: Trance (2013)



An art auctioneer who has become mixed up with a group of criminals partners with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting.


Another hypnotically engaging film by the maestro himself, Danny Boyle. “Trance“, I found to be of a slightly different slice than Boyle’s rather eclectic choice of film creations. Probably closer to the arena of films like “The Beach” and ” Shallow Grave”, “Trance” is one of the few (if any) films that deals almost exclusively with the hypnotic suggestion of one being in a trance (and the power that can come from one that can do the trancing).


A crime rooted film, “Trance” has many special qualities that keeps its story in a state of constant flip flopping, but to the strength of its story. Introduced into the art world per a rather detailed introduction narrative, we come upon one individual Simon (James McAvoy) who has the rather high profile job of making sure that high bid art pieces are properly presented and then tucked away for safety. It’s the kind of paintings that are bid on for several million dollars from high-stake art lovers.



When a robbery breaks out at an art auction, Simon proceeds to stow away the painting on display as he always does, though he is met by one of the robbers midway in transit. A struggle breaks out and Simon who attempts to knock him out is knocked unconscious per a sharp blow to the head. Simon comes out alive but at the cost of amnesia. With a high profile painting worth millions on the line, Simon is soon confronted by the gang again who insist he reveal where the painting was hidden. As we find…. Simon took early precautions himself.

This begins our story which has Simon unable to recall where this multi million dollar painting was hidden AND the crime mob doing their best to remind him into telling them. With amnesia blocking the answers, Franck (Vincent Cassel), the head of the operation hires a hypnotherapist from a directory to help Simon regain his memory. The chosen one? Rosario Dawson who plays the sultry Elizabeth, a practicing expert in her field. From here on out, it’s alot of hypnotic situations powered by Elizabeth’s abilities (who seems to have a handle on using it to manipulate pretty effectively).


The gang is getting antsy hoping for a big payoff from the classic stolen painting in question as the pressure mounts for everyone involved. Actor Vincent Cassel plays his part to perfection running that middle line between foe and friend. There were moments where you start to doubt everything making for a perfect mystery setting for the whole production.


It was reported that “Trance” ended up costing  $20,000,000 which is a drop for the studios which reported only pulling in $2,319,187.

Now one of the big takeaways in Trance, which I’m sure many will agree IS a big takeaway…..actress Rosario Dawson fully nude shaved beaver and all! In fact the scene or the situation actually is part of the storyline (in this case) and used as part of her presentation…but hey, you’ll have to go there yourself.


In short, “Trance” is a good suspense film with a few twists. The story has its wrap up which works itself out nicely in this is well shot, well directed piece (and just a bit “off the cuff” to be memorable). I really dug “Trance”, though I would probably say “that” about any Danny Boykle directed film. However, this is one for the collection as well! It’s got it all ….blood, violence, romance, crime, illusion and sexiness…what more could ya want?

Trance (2013)

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