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Movie Review: Trance

trance-allYou’re gonna try to mindf*ck Professor X? Watch out, we got a badass over here!

by Kevin Gaussoin, Editor-in-Chief

Simon (James McAvoy – Wanted, X-Men First Class) is struck unconscious during an art auction heist. When he gets out of the hospital, the art thief gang, led by Franck (Vincent Cassel – Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen, Black Swan) bring Simon to a hypnotist (Rosario Dawson – Men in Black II, Clerks II, Sin City II) to try and discover where he hid the £27M ($41.5M) Francisco de Goya Flying Witches painting.

trance-dawson-hypnoLast time I was hypnotized, I ended up dancing to some Jackson 5 on the roof of a Mooby’s.

Directed by Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, 127 Hours, 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremonies), Trance takes us down some dangerous storytelling paths. Using plot devices like amnesia and hypnosis is treading on cheesy sci-fi and fantasy ground, and yet somehow Boyle brings this story to life in a way that we buy into it and remain on board, no matter how many twists it takes, to the end. Well, almost.

What really happened to Simon? What do the things he sees while entranced mean? Can his memory be trusted? Can anyone’s?

The nature of such a story does not lend itself to a spoiler-free review. What can be said is that with a primary cast of only three actors, a secondary cast of three to five more, and very little else, Trance is delivered like the next evolution of a Hitchcock screenplay. Unlike the grayscale tales of decades past American cinema, Trance is unfettered by old fashioned taboos and fearlessly features full-frontal nudity and plenty of sex. Like the sex, Trance‘s violence is pronounced but appropriate to the story as well.

Trance features excellent acting, directing, sets, and cinematography. I’d tell you why, but we can only talk around the plot for so long, and we’ll save the spoilers for the Blu-ray review. The score is particularly lovely and appropriate as well.


Fans of indy cinema, mindf*ck movies, heist stories, and twisted plots are in for a win with Trance. If you’re down for something like Memento with a bit of Oceans or maybe Tarantino, and won’t balk at a story that entirely hinges on what elsewhere would be decried as an eye-rollingly bad sci-fi plot device, you should probably see Trance on the big screen before someone spoils it for you. My only significant complaint was that the final epilogue scene was oddly out of place. This cheesy ill-fitting twist could not hurt the rest of the film, so don’t let that stop you either.

Rating: ★★★★½
ComicsOnline gives Trance 4.5 out of 5 recovered memories.

trance-frameTricked by Xavier. Or was I? I really should have hired Magneto.

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About Kevin Gaussoin

Kevin has run ComicsOnline since 2000 so everything you like about it is due to his excellent staff and everything you don't like is all his fault. He hopes you'll comment and share the crap out of it either way. Also he sends you virtual hugs.