After fiddling around with Oscar a couple of times with Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, director Danny Boyle gets back to doing what he does best: the thriller. However, in Trance, opening today in Oklahoma City, the flashy filmmaker bears a light coat of rust.
Based on a 2001 British made-for-TV movie, Trance casts X-Men: First Class member James McAvoy (presumably standing in for Ewan McGregor) as Simon, an art auctioneer who becomes a media hero for foiling the heist of an über-valuable painting, yet pays the price when the would-be thief, Franck (Vincent Cassel, Black Swan), comes looking for it.
Trouble is, the knock to the noggin Franck gave Simon during the fray has resulted in a bout of amnesia. To jog the priceless artwork’s location from the recesses of Simon’s mind, Franck sends him to a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson, Unstoppable).
From then on, viewers can question how much of what Boyle shows you can be trusted, as fragments of their hypnotizing sessions bleed into reality, and vice versa. While some may call this approach a mind-screw (to use a family-friendlier term), Trance emerges as too much of a mess to earn that badge.
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