Trance ** (out of five)
In twenty years, if you were to tell me that Danny Boyle had told his long-standing First Assistant Director to go make a movie “in the style of Danny Boyle”, and he had done so, and that the result had been Trance, I would’ve believed you. Boyle was busy making the London Olympics, after all, and somebody had to make this dumb movie. Unfortunately it was probably him.
Faced with a script that wishes it was ludicrous but is actually silly, and indeed wishes it was silly but is actually stupid, Boyle tries to cover the whole thing with style; the film is composed of endless shots in reflective surfaces, blue-soaked rooms are countered by orange walls; Dutch angles, strange compositions and of course Boyle’s trademark billowing music and endless building cacophonies dominate, and in this case sublimate, any chance we have at grasping the story. It’s all designed to instill suspense and tension when, inherently and unfortunately, there is absolutely none.
James McAvoy plays an auctioneer who finds himself caught up in a hot spot with a bunch of crooks led by Vincent Cassell; when a blow to his head damages his memory, hypnotist Rosario Dawson is hired to plumb the depths of his brain (see where this is going — and I mean in the ludicrous sense?)
Casell is never particularly good when acting in English and, here, he seems to try different accents to keep himself amused. Dawson is terribly, laughably wooden and MacAvoy simply looks like he doesn’t know what in the world he’s meant to be doing. Doyle was directing the Olympics during this. It’s not only ludicrously obvious that he didn’t direct his actors, it’s also ludicrously obvious that he didn’t care about this film. It’s bad.
There are many, many Danny Boyle fans all over the world, and they –and I! — have come to expect so much. He is one of the most exciting directors in the world. This is him slumming, badly; avoid.