Twists and turns, all so someone can go nuts


James McAvoy as Simon
Rosario Dawson as Elizabeth
with Vincent Cassel as Franck

Sometimes, it’s good to watch a movie that doesn’t look like it was touched by Hollywood. It means that it can be clever and have a good storyline. Trance is one such movie. We start off with Simon, played by James McAvoy talking about stealing paintings from art auctions and the sort of precautions that are taken to ensure that the precious pieces aren’t taken.  Then, it (somewhat predictably) turns out that he’s part of a crew attempting to steal a painting worth 25 million quid. What you can’t understand is why he’s saying “don’t be a hero” while simultaneously trying – at first glance – to be a hero by trying to stop the stealing of the painting by Franck, the leader of the crew. As a result, he gets a shotgun butt to his noggin and some amnesia as a side effect.

Once the triumphant crew complete their getaway and back to their secret lair, they get the painting out of the bag…only to find that there is the frame, but alas, no painting. The movie then follows the twists and turns as they try to unravel the mystery of where the painting has disappeared to once it’s made clear that it was Simon who did the hiding. Now, with a title like Trance, you’d expect that there’s a bit of hypnotism involved in the storyline and your guess would be completely correct. The crew bet the solution to the entire mystery on the abilities of Elizabeth Lamb, who is the hypnotherapist involved in the case. It is quite a good mystery and there are enough time jumbled events, false leads and inaccurate memories due to the head trauma Simon copped to keep you guessing about the true nature of not just the characters, but also their motivations.

This is one of those thriller movies where the story isn’t so convoluted that it’s unbelievable. Instead, it’s clever and the writing is sharp. There’s probably a temptation by writers to really turn up the intelligence factor in some of their characters to such an extent that plausibility flies out the window, and because of that, I think the best kind of movie is the one that is believable. Of course, I don’t mind if there are some explosions and pew-pew in movies, but action blockbusters are easily forgettable. More movies should be made like this, clever, sharp and plausible.


Cleverly written film with good twists and turns.

Should I watch this?

It will need your attention. If you’re easily distracted, you might want to consider something else…like The Simpsons Movie.


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