Film Review: Trance

From the very first moments of Trance, it is crystal clear that this is a Danny Boyle movie. It’s got his fingerprints all over it. The energy, the frenzy, the use of music and the voice-over — it all feels distinctly like the style that came spilling onto our screens with 1996’s Trainspotting. Needless to say, Boyle’s got our attention. But this time, instead of following Scottish drug addicts the director is following art thieves in London.

James McAvoy portrays Simon, an art auctioneer with a bit of a gambling problem. When he gets in a little too deep with his card playing, Simon gets into bed with a group of gangsters led by Franck (Vincent Cassel). The only problem is that the heist doesn’t go quite as planned. When Simon is injured by Franck during the theft, he’s left with amnesia about the most important fact: the location of the art they’ve stolen. Franck and his crew make it clear that Simon needs to produce the work of art or it’s his life on the line. Enter Elizabeth Lamb (portrayed by Rosario Dawson), a hypnotist who smells money and wants in on the action if she can help solve the mystery with her skills. And, of course, there’s a bit of a love triangle between Dawson and the two leading men.

Trance is a well acted thriller. There are twists and turns at every corner and you’ll spend the first half of the movie wondering who is, in fact, telling the truth. It’s difficult to know who to believe and that’s exactly what the film wants: to keep you guessing. It’s the final twist at the end that seems a little too convenient. It’s a little too clean. But the race to get there is fast-paced and entertaining.


In a previous life, Corinne ran a music website. After going strong for a decade, the site went on a hiatus. Consider her the antiTastemaker.