Review: Trance (2013)
The Thomas Crown InceptionDanny Boyle knows how to put together a great looking and sounding pic but his attempt to create something a little more abstractly philosophical doesn't quite pull together. TRANCE plays a little like a cross between a classic art-heist betrayal flick a la THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR and a philosophical action piece evoking Nolan's dig into mediating reality in INCEPTION with its murky 'Is this real or imagined or does it even matter?' spiral.
TRANCE's art-heist caper starts in promising fashion with some smartly designed and decently paced sequences but the plot threads soon spool out seemingly beyond Boyle's ability to reintegrate them into a cohesive story. That mightn't be so much of a problem if the film was made as a more abstract art piece but it is trying to be something much more approachable and understandably appears to be losing a lot of its intended audience. I'd be interest to see writer Joe Ahearne's 2001 made for TV original but it seems to me that Boyle and returned collaborator John Hodge work better on less ill-defined themes such as the greed-guilt complex in SHALLOW GRAVE rather than the vagaries of memory and reality.
Boyle's new movie has a typically strong aesthetic style - lots of similar, stylised-modern architectural forms in the limited range of sets - but this style seems a little at odds with many of the characters, for example the central gang of thieves who are occasionally fish out of water in the given settings. Even so performances are generally good with the central trio of McAvoy, Dawson, and Cassel instilling their characters with plenty of depth and interest. TRANCE has enough appeal to be watchable and at turns pretty interesting it just doesn't achieve an overall synergy and left me without much to take away.