In Trance, the new film by Danny Boyle, thieves led by the scarily elegant Vincent Cassel arrive at an auction house to steal Goya’s Witches in the Air.
An employee of the auction house (the lovely James McAvoy) attempts to foil the robbery, but he gets conked on the head and loses all memory of the event.
But the thieves didn’t make off with the Goya. And McAvoy’s character wasn’t really trying to foil them. He’s the only guy who knows where the painting is, but he can’t remember the exact location. So he consults a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson) to recover his memory. She puts him in a trance to help him clear up the muddle, and that’s when things get really confusing. Are we seeing his memories, or are those events that are actually unfolding, or are they the contents of his unconscious?
In short, Trance is a mindfuck, and it’s compelling as long as you don’t demand absolute clarity. Also, the soundtrack’s good. Recommended for viewers who like movies about art, heists, alternate realities and attractive people in states of undress. (We’re pleased that the MTRCB gave it an R-16 rating instead of demanding cuts.) Not recommended for viewers who need to know exactly what’s going on at all times.
This is the second art-centered movie we’ve seen this year; the first was Gambit, in which fuddy-duddy curator Colin Firth and cowgirl Cameron Diaz try to sell nudist jillionaire Alan Rickman a forged Monet. Written by the Coen Brothers, Gambit features characters so stupid, they trip themselves up at every turn. True, this is the plot of many movies directed by the Coens, but we believe those movies. Okay, most of them. Gambit is so implausible, it quickly becomes an exercise in eyeball-rolling. Alan Rickman is funny, though.