After a recent viewing of T2 Trainspotting I was reminded of what a phenomenal and visionary director Danny Boyle is. I’ve been a fan of his work for years and he brings his own style and finesse to each project he works on. Be it, horror, drama, sci-fi, biopics or comedy he manages to merge genres seamlessly and has a distinctive flair and style of story telling.
After a series of dizzying highs including 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire being awarded 8 Oscars including best picture and best director, 2010’s critically acclaimed 127 Hours gaining universal critical acclaim, 6 Oscar nominations and doing incredibly well at the box office and his spectacular directing of the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony, there wasn’t much further Danny Boyle could skyrocket into infamy. His 2013 release Trance is almost a complete departure from the awards-heavy previous couple of films, and it’s a completely different flavour of movie.
An Inception-esque psychological thriller, the film flirts with a great many genres. It begins as an art heist picture and then descends into a full blown mystery drama, incorporating flashes of extreme violence, surrealism and eroticism. The film generated very mixed reviews from audiences and critics and wasn’t nearly as well received as Boyle’s previous movies, but I personally think that Trance is one of Danny Boyle’s finest works. Granted, the film is all over the place in terms of narrative and tone and it’s definitely not Inception. But there’s something completely engaging about it.
Firstly, at an hour and 41 minutes run time, it really does thunder along. There’s almost no fat on it at all. The casting is rather eclectic as at the centre of the drama you have a love triangle going on between a Scottish auctioneer, a French gangster and an American hypnotherapist, all taking place in London. I do love the smaller budget films James McAvoy takes on between his blockbuster X-Men and Narnia movies. I think Trance, Split and Filth are some of his finest works.
Despite the wobbly plot, the uneven casting and the roller-coaster of tonal shifts Trance is an absolute joy from start to finish. It’s visually spectacular and incredibly playful. There’s a taste of sex, violence, gore and a non liner plot that only just manages to resolve itself towards the end. All of this is held together with great direction and some brilliant performances. The film isn’t as accessible as Boyle’s more mainstream features, but for me, that’s just one of its many charms.