Why I almost liked TRANCE

TRANCE directed by Danny Boil, is an extremely well shot movie, the composition, the framing, all classically and skillfully executed. So well in fact that you want to immediately love the movie, it certainly draws you in with expectations but when the story starts to try too hard and drag you too far into it’s confusing hypno maze with sudden grinding wake up calls, you begin to regret your initial attraction. It’s painful to wake up when you first fall in love, you don’t want the truth. The lie feels too good. Trance is a love, hate affair and you can’t turn away till the movie ends.
Trance-james mcavoy calm voice over hides a secret, he's crazy.
TRANCE starts with an con, unflinching eyes straight into the camera. A voice over education of art, auctions and brutal thieves told by Mc Avoy. Blue eyes staring unabashedly into the lens, Scottish lyrical words, until a promise is made with the audience, I’m the good guy, maybe. Trance quickly transforms from suave art history education into a crime drama then disintegrates into a mental maze of propped up psychological scenery and finally dead ends into a slaughter house of betrayal set on fire.
It's apparent McAvoy has plans for the GoyaSimon (James McAvoy) works at an Auction house, in charge of saving precious works of art if brazen ruffians try to steal them. In case of an attempted theft Simon’s trained to quickly delivery the painting on auction, black wrapped for safety to a drop chute specifically designed to safe guard the painting. It’s the final measure should anyone breach the elaborate electronic maze of security surrounding the rooms and guards.

Simon’s secret behind his sombre voice over is cued up when Simon’s called away from a losing streak at online poker, his sour face says it all. He has a bad gambling problem and it’s apparent the voice over is prep for an inside job to steal the Goya.

But the real center of the entire mind screw is this painting by Goya called The Nude Maja. It’s not the Goya stolen by Simon but it is the one he is obsessed with, and it’s an obsession that pays a decisive role in the story line. So look at it carefully, it never gets enough screen time as it should, but in the slo-mo realm of movie reviews we can enjoy all the glory to come.

The soundtrack is particularly heart thump inducing when triggered alarms threaten a robbery yet no one seems to be going after the painting. Simon acts as trained. He grabs the Goya on auction and quickly delivers it to its destination with the drop chute only to be  stopped by Franck (Vincent Cassel) apparently breaching security, armed with a shotgun, blocking Simoning and the guards .

McAvoy has a hard side rearing up in Trance, taser in the neck for FranckIt’s a bit of a stretch, that Franck could manage to get through security, precisely in time to wall off Simon’s critical drop point. All quickly forgotten when Simon angrily tasers Franck only to gaze wide eyed as Franck rises like Lazarus and delivers a vicious blow to Simon’s head with the butt end of his shotgun.

The result is credibly rendered as the violence in this film is 70’s realism so when you get hit in the head with a shotgun it cracks your cranium, you bleed and you go into surgery. This isn’t a Stallone or a Willis movie where several bullets wounds are merely mosquito bites, you swat off with verbal quips.

Franq's NOT happy about the missing pieces in TRANCEAfter surgery to relieve the swelling on Simon’s brain. Simon lays in the hospital bed, a hero leisurely recovering. That is until he is released and met by his angry and very violent friends who are demanding the whereabouts of the GOYA. Which was not in the stolen bag Franck snatched, it seems that Simon has double crossed his criminal compatriots and hidden the painting for himself.

trance-James mcavoy gets his friends to tear off his fingernails as a welcome home gift.Trouble is, due to the terrific blow to his head delivered by Franck, Simon can’t remember where the Goya is. Convenient lie or truth? Well the lads pull a few fingernails to make sure Simon isn’t lying as good friends usually do. And when enough blood has flowed everyone is properly convinced Simon has lost his memory. What to do next?

Trance, Rat Pack criminal friends, who needs enemies?A seemingly random choice of a hypnotist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) is chosen to manipulate Simon’s dysfunctional noggin and his crooked friend’s stressed coconuts to uncover where Simon has hidden the painting. Elizabeth, a she wolf in lamb’s clothing, intent on shearing off the shackles from Simon’s self imposed forgetfulness.

trance-Dawson has many sides and motives inside herTrance holds your interest with a strong cast and cinematic skill but something is askew. The false scene within a memory scene in a delusion scene leads you to doubt everything happening, and it quickly gets irritating trying to figure out what’s real and what to put your concern into.

Simon is lost in realms and wishful thinking so Elizebeth takes the lead to sexually relieve  Simon desires just after sleeping with Franck, they all know it but it doesn’t seem to bother anyone too much. It all leads to one of the most sudden full frontal nude scenes I have ever seen in a mainstream film. It’s rather contrived, Elizebeth goes to the bathroom and you hear a telling buzzing sound when she reappears, her naked body fills the screen then a huge CU of Rosario’s venus mound.

Let’s pause for a moment of respect and adulation.

Trance Dawsons shaven bush nude scene shocker, no wonder he's obessessed!The trimmed bush, the shaven peach, the immortal quim, huge up on the screen, under the shade of Dawson’s massive breasts. It’s a full frontal nude walk on with Dawson baring all up close under the guise that this is what Simon wants. The shaved clam is Simon’s obsession and once again Elizebeth acts like she knows Simon far too well.

Double take! What? IS this really a full frontal, glorious naked shot of Dawson. What Style!Double take! What? IS this really a full frontal, glorious naked shot of Dawson. What Style!Double take! What? IS this really a full frontal, glorious naked shot of Dawson. What Style!

Double take! What? IS this really a full frontal, glorious naked shot of Dawson. What Style!

Does Trance need full frontal nudity, especially the distracting kind from Dawson, the almost obscene nature of the manipulation could be viewed as her ultimate control of Simon. Yet it was harder to take anything seriously in the movie afterwards, I was hypnotized by what I had seen, and had trouble waking up. This, plus the constant guessing of what scene is in Simon’s head or Franck’s or who was going to wake and kill who, becomes quickly tiring and it takes a toll on the veracity of the film. The film almost seemed wrapped around the incredible naked body of Dawson. Who would have thought she had such wondrous massive tits, beneath her clothes, certainly not I. Massive well shaped glorious tits they are, almost putting her shaven vertical smile in shadow.

What the sudden stark nudity does do is give us reason to believe that Simon is completely obsessed with Elizabeth. Was Simon unhinged as Elizabeth claimed or did she manipulate him and control him into stealing the Goya as she is controlling Franq and the movie.

Trance: McAvoy tests the hypno veil of realityThe clash of reality and mind games grinds to a halt when it’s revealed to be possibly true that Elizebeth has been manipulating everyone. Simon grapples with the revelation and turnaround that he is clearly a psychopath, far more insane than his criminal co-horts as he willfully kills them all without remorse, or is he doing it under the control of Elizebeth?

Simon is a gambler, a woman beater, a thief, a murder and rather obsessive about Elizebeth, and shaven pubes. Turns out Elizebeth hypnotized him to forget her after an their loving affair turned into a throat choking tryst of cruelty. Yet Elizebeth didn’t stop there she made him steal the Goya, turns out that wasn’t his idea either.

McAvoy brings the end in Trance with flames and blood. Burn baby burn!You wonder if she deserved the choking or if she invented it or provoked him so she could make Simon steal the Goya painting. Is the decaying dead girl in Simon’s car trunk, where they finally find the Goya, Simon’s real girlfriend? Did he kill her in a hypno haze imagining her to be Elizabeth. Or did Elizebeth make him kill her, is she responsibly for controlling Simon and getting an innocent girl murdered? Or is Franck tied to the steering wheel of a car on fire, having a hypno-nightmare. Will he wake sweaty in Elizabeth’s bed next to her mountainous peaks and exposed glory.

It’s hard to tell if all the plot threads line up or if they are even supposed to? It would take repeated viewings and very close examination to find all the twirls and kinks in the TRANCE’S pom pom dance of hypno abuse.

The question is, would you want to? I let it go, as a mystical tale not meant to be unraveled and if you can enjoy being led around by the uhm arm then this may be your type of film. It’s as hard to like Trance as it is to figure it out.

You just never know for sure.

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