THRILLER; 1hr 41min
STARRING: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel
At wits’ end: McEvoy
Greed and thieving are naturally entwined. They can also be an entrapment, which is how it is for hard-pressed London art auctioneer Simon Newton (McAvoy), the sitting duck at the centre of director Danny Boyle’s twisty psychological teaser. Deep in gambling debt, Simon takes up with a patently bad crowd, headed by the sort of stop-at-nothing, cold-blooded thug (Cassel as Franck) who typically calls the criminal shots.
When a heist misfires and a Rembrandt worth millions goes missing, only Simon knows where it is — or he would know, if he could remember what happened after an amnesia-inducing thunk on the head. Failing to jog Simon’s recollection via torture, a frustrated Franck steers him to hypnotherapy and the services of Elizabeth Lamb (Dawson), who is way more sultry than any hypnotherapist has a professional right to be.
She’s also a past master of hidden agendas, as are Slumdog Millionaire’s Boyle and screenwriters Joe Ahearn and John Hodge, who manoeuvre through a thicket of cat–mouse plot points on wheels-within-wheels that spin off in multiple, confounding directions. Scorching, polished and consistently surprising, with unreadable performances and more sneaky twists than an amusement-park mirror maze, Trance is a superlative bag of tricks.