TRANCE (Danny Boyle, 2013)
TRANCE is a welcome return to form for filmmaker Danny Boyle. I love 127 HOURS and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE as much as the next guy, but fans of Boyle's early film TRAINSPOTTING will sure dig what mind games he employs in TRANCE. What starts out as a thrilling heist film becomes a surreal headtrip until the third act evolves into a Korean revenge thriller, only that the punishment is subtler but no less sicker, reminiscent of Kim Ki-Duk's PIETA.
Simon (James McAvoy) is an art auctioneer who gets in deep with Franck (Vincent Cassel), a professional thief. A change of plans results to Simon having loss of memory, and therefore unknown whereabouts of a priceless Goya painting. Franck hires Elizabeth, a hypnotherapist to help Simon recall where he hid the painting. What we uncover from the deepest recesses of Simon's mind are best left to suppression.
Proving to be a psychological playground both with the images and the nature of discussion, TRANCE invites us into a bizarre journey of our own inhibitions and darkest memories, and gives us a shocking and satisfying experience in the end. Quite notable is the passage of power from one main character to another, first from Franck, then to Simon and ultimately to Elizabeth. Boyle proves further with TRANCE that he has not lost his flair of surprising us.
If at all, TRANCE invites further discussion into the discipline of hypnotherapy. What immense power hypnotherapy/hypnosis possess, as the film suggests, is scary in the hands of those who know how to navigate its methods.