Trance is a terrible film. And this is strange because the poster is covered in four-star reviews, which claim that its a psychological drama, a labyrinthine neo-noir, or even, in the words of Time Out, a brain-boggling thriller. Quite sensible people have tried to tell me the film was polarising – which is to suggest that recognising how shit it was was somehow my own fault. The only conclusion I can come to is that these people were hypnotised into thinking the film was ok by some sinister power emanating from Rosario Dawsons vagina.
And if that sound unlikely wait till you hear about the plot. Its really too stupid to explain concisely, but as you may have gathered it involves art theft and hypnosis. Simon (James McAvoy) works for an auctioneer, Vincent Cassel is Franck, a professional art thief, which is apt because his face looks like a cubist painting of a Citroen van, and Rosario Dawson plays Elizabeth, a hypnotist who wants to show everyone her mini moo. From the outset were expected to believe that hypnosis is more or less magic, that it can cause people to forget long periods of their lives and commit any crime up to and including murder, car theft and, yes, art theft. And if youre finding all that hard to swallow, try washing it down with a load of spurious neuroscience and pretentious (and wrong) art criticism. If Trance isnt boring, its only because theres something fascinating about how badly put together it is. Its chock full of terrible surprises, Inception style set-pieces, and rip-offs from Klute and The Thomas Crown Affair. And then, just when you think it cant get any worse, it turns out the whole plot hinges on a shot of Dawsons shaven pudenda. I was genuinely blind-sided by that one.
As one of the small proportion of the population apparently unaffected by Dawsons vaginal juju I feel its my duty to give it to you straight. Danny Boyle has never made a good film. Ok, Shallow Grave was all right, but since it launched the career of Ewan McGregor, may it forever be blotted from the book of time. After that, everything hes done has been, merely better than expected. Trainspotting does the novel a huge deservice – its panto to its tragedy. Slumdog Meh? I mean Millionaire? And the Olympic Opening ceremony? Ok, it wasnt as bad as the closing ceremony, but it was still a fucking mess. Boyle might have ambition, but he doesnt have any taste.
When I click my fingers, youll wake up, knowing that this is true. Youll never see this film, and you will never, ever tell anyone that its either a lot of fun or a neurological caper movie.