Trance (2013 film)
UK release poster by Empire Design
|Directed by||Danny Boyle|
|Produced by||Christian Colson|
|Story by||Joe Ahearne|
|Music by||Rick Smith|
|Cinematography||Anthony Dod Mantle|
|Edited by||Jon Harris|
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
|Running time||101 minutes|
|Box office||$24 million|
Trance is a 2013 British psychological thriller film directed by Danny Boyle with a screenplay by Joe Ahearne and John Hodge from a story by Ahearne. The film stars James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, and Rosario Dawson. The world premiere of the film was held in London on 19 March 2013.
Simon, an art auctioneer, becomes involved in the theft of a painting, Goya's Witches in the Air, from his own auction house. Simon's colleague Franck confronts him at gunpoint and takes the painting from him. When Franck tries to take the painting, Simon attacks him and receives a blow to the head that leaves him with amnesia. When Franck gets home, he discovers that the package contains only an empty frame. Franck and his offsiders then kidnap and torture Simon, but he has no memory of where he has hidden the painting, so Franck decides to hire a hypnotherapist to try and help him remember.
Franck makes Simon choose a hypnotist from a directory, and he chooses a woman named Elizabeth Lamb. Elizabeth and Franck start a relationship and she suggests that she try to seduce Simon to find the painting. She has sex with Simon and hypnotises him. Simon has a dream where Franck and his associates plan to kill him, but he kills them instead. In the dream, he remembers where the painting is, calls Elizabeth and tells her.
Simon awakens, only to find Elizabeth is gone. When he calls her, she is on her way to get the painting, which Simon begs her not to. Franck and his associates intercept Elizabeth and force her to lead them to the painting. As she kisses Simon, Elizabeth passes three bullets to him. He attacks Franck with a fire extinguisher and takes the other bullets and his gun. Elizabeth goes back into the apartment, where one of Franck's associates tries to rape her. Simon kills all three of them and takes Elizabeth to get the painting. She tells him to let Franck come with them. He leads them to a parking garage where the painting is.
During the trip, Elizabeth describes an abusive relationship from her past. She reveals that Simon was previously a client of hers who had a gambling addiction he wanted to fix. They started dating and he became obsessed with her and eventually abusive. She used hypnosis to make him forget her which led him back into his gambling addiction. This addiction would cause Simon to go in debt and lead him to try to pay off the debt by stealing a painting, with the help of Franck, leading to the current events of the movie.
On the day of the heist, Simon was attacked by Franck and awoke alone some time later, finding the stolen painting hidden in his suit. Leaving the art gallery, he got a mysterious text message while crossing the road, and was hit by a car. The female driver tried to take him to hospital, but Simon, with his memory partially regained, believed the woman was Elizabeth and strangled her for making him forget her. He hid her corpse and the painting in the trunk and put the car in a garage.
After driving out of the garage and stopping at a warehouse, Elizabeth finds the painting and the body in the car's trunk. Simon, having finally remembered his past and wanting to forget, douses the car in fuel with Franck zip-tied to the steering wheel, sets it on fire and tells Elizabeth to run away with the painting. She runs away but promptly returns driving a truck which she drives into Simon, pinning him against the other car, and ultimately sending Simon, and the car Franck is trapped in, into the river.
Franck manages to escape, while it is implied that Simon drowns. The scene cuts to Franck swimming in his apartment while thinking of the event. He gets out of the pool and receives a package. He opens the package and finds an iPad that plays a video of Elizabeth talking about the painting, which is now hanging in her apartment. She reveals that when she hypnotized Simon to make him forget her, she also hypnotized him to go back into his gambling addiction. When Simon would try to steal a painting to pay off his debt, he would instead give the painting over to Elizabeth. This explains why Simon took the painting away from Franck at the beginning and the text message he received before being hit by the car, which is revealed to be from Elizabeth telling Simon to deliver the painting to her. Elizabeth gives Franck the option to forget the ordeal, and a button for an app called "Trance" appears as the video ends. Franck is shown debating whether to press the button, and the screen cuts to black.
- James McAvoy as Simon
- Vincent Cassel as Franck
- Rosario Dawson as Elizabeth
- Danny Sapani as Nate
- Matt Cross as Dominic
- Wahab Sheikh as Riz
- Mark Poltimore (7th Baron Poltimore) as Francis Lemaitre
- Tuppence Middleton as Young Woman in Red Car
- Simon Kunz as Surgeon
- Michael Shaeffer as Security Guard #1
- Tony Jayawardena as Security Guard #2
- Vincent Montuel as Handsome Waiter
- Jai Rajani as Car Park Attendant
- Spencer Wilding as 60's Robber
- Gursharan Chaggar as Postman
- Edward Rising as 60's Auctioneer
After director Danny Boyle filmed Shallow Grave in 1994, Joe Ahearne sent the director his screenplay for Trance, seeking Boyle's encouragement. Boyle thought that the project would be "quite difficult" for a beginning screenwriter. Ahearne later turned the script into a 2001 television movie. Boyle never forgot it, and almost two decades after their original conversation he contacted Ahearne about turning it into a feature film. Partially based on Ahearne's 2001 British television film of the same name, Trance underwent script doctoring by screenwriter John Hodge – marking the fifth motion picture collaboration between Hodge and Boyle.
In May 2011, Michael Fassbender was cast as Franck but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Colin Firth was considered for the part before Cassel was cast. Scarlett Johansson, Melanie Thierry, and Zoe Saldana were considered for the role that went to Dawson.
McAvoy, who accepted the role in 2011, said that he almost turned down the part, while reading the script, because Simon seemed to be a victim, which didn't interest him. He told NPR's reporter Laura Sullivan, "And then I got about 15 or 20 pages in, and I started to sense that something else was coming in the character. And then something else did come. And then about every 10 pages, something else came. Until at the end, I was hunching at the bit, as we say in Scotland... It just means I was desperate...I was hungry to play this part."
Principal photography began in September 2011. After filming wrapped up, the film was placed on hold in order for Boyle to work on the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Post-production was then picked up again in August 2012.
Boyle said that this is "the first time I put a woman at the heart of a movie." He also said that he originally intended to set the movie in New York City, but it was filmed in London and in Kent instead, as Boyle's Olympic ceremony duties meant he had to stay in the UK.
On 4 January 2013, it was announced that Rick Smith of the band Underworld would be composing the music for the film. Underworld previously contributed tracks to other Danny Boyle films, including Trainspotting (1996), A Life Less Ordinary (1997), The Beach (2000), and Sunshine (2007). About the collaboration, Smith said, "After finishing the Opening Ceremony, I hardly knew what day of the week it was. I took a month off work, off music, off everything. Exactly one month and three days after we said goodbye in the stadium, I received a text from Danny that said, 'Do you ever want to hear from me again workwise and would that go as far as having a chat about Trance... Questions, questions.' Two Minutes later I was on board." The soundtrack album for Trance was released in the United Kingdom on 25 March and in the United States on 2 April 2013.
When asked by an interviewer about the secret of their 17-year-old creative partnership, Boyle joked, "He's cheap." Then, answering seriously, he said that they both like electronic music and that he doesn't prescribe a sound for a scene, but lets Smith follow his own instincts.
Boyle showed a teaser trailer and an extended version of an alternate ending at South by Southwest on 9 March 2013. The entire film could not be screened at the festival, as is usually done, because the producing studio Pathé owned the rights to the world premiere, which was held 10 days later. The film was released on 27 March 2013 in the United Kingdom, with a United States release date on 5 April 2013.
The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives a score of 69% based on reviews from 160 critics; the site's consensus is: "As stylish as ever, director Danny Boyle seems to be treading water with the surprisingly thinly written Trance -- but for fans of Boyle's work, it should still prove a trippily entertaining distraction". Washington Post writer Michael O'Sullivan describes Boyle as "playing fast and loose with reality."
Empire magazine in its review gave the film 4 out of 5 and called the film "a dazzling, absorbing entertainment which shows off Danny Boyle's mastery of complex storytelling and black, black humour." Empire also ranked it 27 in its top 50 films of 2013.
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- Official website
- Trance at the Internet Movie Database
- Trance at Box Office Mojo
- Trance at Rotten Tomatoes
- Trance at Metacritic