Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel
Since his career began, Boyle has been able to accomplish a feat which has eluded many directors before him: he hops between genres and experiences success each time. He's tackled crime films, dark comedies, zombie thrillers, science fiction, and more, all while crafting a style of his own and making his work vibrant and unique. Similar to his 2007 film Sunshine, Trance plays with the concepts of memories, identity, perception, reality, and tons more, and Boyle infuses the movie with his trademarked high-energy visuals and propulsive sense of momentum. The film grabs you from the opening and never releases its grip, toying with you as it shifts its characters around like pieces on a chess board. The story is a giant secret, and Boyle and writer John Hodge dole out fragments of information as fractured as James McAvoy's psyche while we race to build the bigger picture in our minds.
Boyle creates a visual landscape that seems to constantly be askew, using Dutch angles - it felt like there were more here than in Kenneth Branagh's Thor, which is quite a feat - and reflections to obscure the reality of situations and keep the audience off balance. The visual style keeps us disconnected from the story as we are constantly fed more information and try to put the pieces together to "beat" the movie to its conclusion, but terrific performances from McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel pull us in and give an emotional connection. We're never quite sure what's happening behind McAvoy's shifty eyes, and Dawson does particularly impressive work as the hynotherapist who wants her own piece of the art theft pie.