Terrific acting informs this convoluted conundrum of flashbacks revolving around the theft of a Francisco Goya (1746-1828) painting (“Witches in the Air”); which is where the audience hovers between nonfiction and the twilight zone; Danny Boyle’s slick scenario, at best, is masterful manipulation but flounders when dealing with the consequences of the therapeutic process focusing on hypnosis (“trance”) and those susceptible to its capabilities.
Commencing with “Simon” (stunning, emotionally-charged performance by James McAvoy) relating how to keep your “cool” during a cunningly brilliant heist; sensual, devastatingly- handsome, shrewd perpetrator, “Franck” (Vincent Cassel) poorly defined, boringly confined in a role that could have been so much juicier; “Elizabeth”, hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson, created for the role) with a voice seductively slippery; sculpturally perfect, she sinuously entwines Simon, Franck and malevolent crew in a hypnotic gossamer that perpetually keeps the viewer enthralled, confused, mystified.
Carl Jung (1875-1961) whose profession was sloshing around in the psyches of the tormented, sated that “he who looks outside dreams; he who looks within awakens”; “Trance” is a paradox, challenging the audience to differentiate the empirical from the rational; an exercise I found rather intoxicating, “entrancing”.
TWO & 3/4 STARS!!!