Opening 8 Aug 2013
Trance — a workout for the mind and memory — is similar to the state of being in one. When the film ends you can decide whether there was too much, over-the-top happening, or appreciate that you have just seen a very clever, quite intelligent and superbly executed film.
If not for Goya, perhaps none of this would have happened. Instead, as the gavel comes down on a final bid of 27 million pounds sterling for Goya’s “Witches in the Air”, a minutely synchronized heist unfolds. Fine art auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy) is bashed in the head after disrupting one of the thieves; finally released from hospital, he finds his car, and apartment trashed. More alarming, the robbers grab him and Franck (Vincent Cassel) informs Simon he is one of them, the last one to have had the painting, and they want it — now. Convinced that Simon must be amnesic when their torture brings no result, Frank is advised that, perhaps, hypnosis might help. Enter Dr. Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) — let the games begin! No spoilers, or even hints, here.
Oscar© winners director Danny Boyle and cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire) combine neo-noir characteristics — memory issues, antiheroes, moral predicaments and ambivalence — with a brilliantly distinctive fusion of alternative camera angles and lighting. Rick Smith’s foretelling score reverberates throughout, as the casts’ effortless performances keep us guessing. Choosing Goya, often referred to as “the father of modern painting”, highlights the filmmakers’ attention to details. “Witches in the Air” is considered one of his most surreal paintings, mixing reality with probing allusions into the world of imagination and dreams. Trance will tease your wits and challenge your memory; your peace of mind may require additional viewings, to certify you have all the pieces in their proper place. (Marinell Haegelin)