Thursday, 28 March 2013


Trance aspires to be a thriller set within the mind, but it is just a thriller set in its own celluloid frame. Danny Boyle's latest music video is every bit the hyper-stylised hodgepodge we've come to expect from him, and he makes predictably thorough use of the practically limitless scope that his film's premise provides him. Other filmmakers normalise their unreality or dream sequences in order to trick the audience into accepting them as reality; Danny Boyle cranks up his reality to the level of chaos in order to trick the audience into disbelieving everything - a neat trick, since we can't help but believe what we see, even when we know we're not seeing everything. Rather than lie to us, Trance simply obscures the intricacies of its plot until the end, when layer upon layer is ripped off to help us fill in the gaps. This all happens too quickly, and too late, since we spend most of the film swimming around on the surface layer, and writers Joe Ahearne and John Hodge have to kill time developing a vapid sexual subplot whose primary purpose appears to be as an opportunity to get Rosario Dawson out of her clothes (again). It's eventually not as clever as it wants to be, nor as radical, so Boyle himself kills time with brash violence and would-be action and lots of loud noises as the story attempts to veer off-road, but just keeps going around in circles, like when you're trying to find the start of a roll of sticky-tape. Production values are alternately crass and cool, and sometimes override the rest of the film to the extent that you wonder if Danny Boyle really is the genius we credit him as, or if he just relies on a team of dedicated crew members. As art, it's less than satisfying, but as entertainment, it's first-rate, and I doubt Boyle and co. were ever aiming for much more than that. One thing's for sure in his films: you're rarely bored, if ever. Captivated, you might say. Entranced.