Friday, August 23, 2013

Usually when people escape a shitty relationship they take their books and their CDs. They might even stuff a couple of posters under their arms and run off with the Blu Ray player. At the very worst they’ll sneak into their ex-partners house when they’re at work and nab the cat. Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), though, has other ideas...

Directed by Danny Boyle, you wouldn’t be completely off your nut to expect decent things from Trance. From Trainspotting to Shallow Grave to 28 Days Later to Slumdog Millionaire to the amazing opening Olympic ceremony that had this homesick Londoner in tears, he has an incredibly robust CV. But then Trance rears it’s weird, deranged head.

First things first, I was incredibly entertained by Trance. But I can’t call it a good film. In fact, it’s pretty fucking awful. It’s a colossal mess. It’s nasty, it’s bitter and it’s trashy...which is why I probably found it so perversely entertaining.

Part of me thinks that Trance is a reaction to Kerry Fox’s character in Shallow Grave. In that film you have a scheming, manipulative woman who is outwitted by an equally scheming, manipulative man. But even though they’re equally dastardly, you can’t help but root for the Ewan McGregor character. But why? He’s greedy, he’s a coward and he’s completely lacking in moral fibre. So why should we root for him over a woman with the same kind of characteristics? Do we somehow believe that women should be above such avarice? Or is there some kind of misogyny going on? Are we so insecure that we can’t abide the fact that a woman could be smarter or more devious than a man?

Perhaps. But Danny Boyle atones for his vaguely misogynistic treatment of women in Shallow Grave by having the female lead get away with everything in Trance. She takes the male characters to the cleaners and gets to take home an expensive Goya.

But is this a satisfying role reversal? Not really. The character is painted in broad strokes and her ability to manipulate the minds of others is so strong that she could almost be considered a super hero/super villain; she doesn’t seem human - she’s more like a character out of X-Men.

One of the most egregious things in Trance is the ending. Elizabeth has got away with the expensive painting and she’s screwed over all the men in her life, including Franck (Vincent Cassel), a mid-level hood. The expensive painting was his prize and he’s understandably upset that someone else has it. But Elizabeth offers a solution. If Franck just picks up the ipad she’s sent to him by courier, he can forget that it ever happened. All he has to do is press an app called ‘Trance’ and she’ll erase it from his memory.

This scene is stupid for many reasons. Firstly, it’s way too cute. Elizabeth, speaking through the video on the ipad, is perfectly filmed. Really? Did she do this or herself? Or did she hire a professional, Academy Award level crew to film her message? The lighting and the camerawork are all perfect. And then you have Franck standing there like an idiot. Ooh, I’m attracted to this woman but she screwed me over and I really want that painting back but I want to be able to escape the torment of not having it. Shall I press the Trance app? Yeah, I think I will. No, wait! No I won’t. I won’t touch it. But it hurts so much. I can put an end to the pain. Yeah, let me press it. But I want the painting so much! I can’t do it. But I’m in agony. I can have peace. But I want the painting! *THE END*

The thing that surprised me the most was just how bad James McAvoy is. His overacting in this film is insane. A couple of times he does this evil look. It’s kind of hard to describe. It’s like some weird Tourette’s tic. Or he’s just pooed himself and he likes it. I never knew that he was quite so hammy.

But not knowing anything about the film before going to see it, I was quite surprised at just how fucked up it is. At the beginning it seems like something of a lightweight caper film. Oh, there’s an art robbery and various shenanigans are going to follow. But then an hour and half later James McAvoy is driving around in a car with a rotting corpse in it. And then he’s shooting people in the penis and strangling women to death. [insert evil McAvoy smirk]

Something else James McAvoy’s character likes is a pube-free, little girly vagina. Yep, he’s so turned on by Renaissance nudes that he likes his women to be hair free. Cue graphic shots of Elizabeth’s hairless mound.

He becomes so obsessed with this baby smooth pussy that he begins getting jealous for no reason and starts beating Elizabeth up. So to try and stop him from killing her, she gradually puts him in a trance and makes him forget her and their relationship. Surely this would be enough. No, no it wouldn’t. As compensation she plants an idea in his head - he’ll steal a painting and deliver it to her.

It’s a neat enough idea but the script is too weak to pull it off. For a little while I thought it was going to be a genuinely decent film. I know my wife was hating every second that Rosario Dawson opened her mouth, but the initial trance scenes were entertaining. It’s like a detective story, only the mystery is trapped in your head. But then the film degenerates and becomes a crazy guilty pleasure. Would you like graphic cock violence with your gential close-ups? Yes, please!

I think I could drink a six pack and have the most amazing time watching this film. There are certainly one or two howlers.

In one scene Elizabeth passes three bullets to James McAvoy...into his mouth...and no one notices! Okay, they’re having a romantic kiss before they get killed. But can you really walk around with three bullets in your mouth without anyone noticing? ‘What have got in your gob there?’ [Jangle, jangle]

The unintentional hilarity even extends to the movie poster. It features a multi-coloured James McAvoy screaming at the viewer. Is this the frustration we’re going to feel when viewing the movie? Or is it outright anger? But to me it looks like a Technicolor shit arranged into James McAvoy’s visage. Yes, Danny Boyle did a dump and this is what happened...and it’s kind of amazing.

Hmm. Shall I hit the ‘Trance’ app and forget everything that happened? But the film is so much fun! But it’s such a piece of shit as well! I should just erase it from my memory. But the McAvoy smirk is so amusing! No, don’t let it take up precious room in your head. Get rid of it! But James McAvoy shoots someone in the penis!


You Might Also Like


  1. Hey man, it's too bad you haven't written any reviews in a while. I got quite a kick out of 'em! A while back you mentioned wanted to review Braveheart, I'd be really interested as to what you thought of that.