dir Danny Boyle
scr Joe Ahearne, John Hodge
prd Danny Boyle, Christian Colson
with James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel, Danny Sapani, Matt Cross, Wahab Sheikh, Tuppence Middleton, Mark Poltimore, Simon Kunz, Michael Shaeffer, Tony Jayawardena, Vincent Montuel
release UK 27.Mar.13, US 5.Apr.13
13/UK Pathe 1h41
Get out of my head: Cassel, McAvoy and Dawson

cassel dawsonsw" middleton
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Trance With its fragmented sense of reality, this script gives Boyle plenty of scope to indulge in flashy cinematic trickery. Although several twists too many leave us feeling a bit like we've been had. Still the film is expertly shot and edited, and the cast make the most of the shifty characters.

After a violent heist at his auction house, Simon (McAvoy) has no memory of what happened to the £30 million Goya painting that's now missing. And this is a problem because he was actually conspiring with ruthless thug Franck (Cassel) to steal it. So Franck and his goons (Sapani, Cross and Sheikh) escort Simon to hypnosis therapist Elizabeth (Dawson) to get some answers. She discovers that his secrets are very deeply hidden and deploys some unconventional methods to open Simon's mind. But the further they delve the stranger the story gets.

Working with ace previous collaborators, including cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire) and editor Jon Harris (127 Hours), Boyle injects the film with an energetic sheen. The muscly, stylish approach holds our attention even when we start to wonder whether the story is actually hanging together. The glassy imagery is like eye candy, playing with reflective surfaces and witty cross-cutting to keep our brains spinning along with the plot's gyrations.

Within this, the cast is able to find darkly funny moments at every turn. McAvoy kind of staggers through the film in a daze as the events fragment and circle around him, but his bewildered everyman is always sympathetic. Cassel has the showier role as a short-tempered mastermind who can't help but charm everyone he meets, often while menacing them at the same time. And Dawson storms onto the screen boldly as a strong woman who takes on the gang without flinching.

The film's playfully freaky tone is thoroughly entertaining, even though the dreamy, suggestive structure isn't remotely trustworthy. We figure out a couple of key plot points long before they're revealed, and a a few of the startling sequences dip further into brutal violence and leery nudity than were strictly necessary. But as everything begins to unravel in the end, the whole story becomes so enjoyably nuts that we don't care whether or not it holds water.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality 19.Mar.13

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© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall