Not only was I pleasantly surprised by this film, I was actually blown away. What starts out as a crime film about robbery turns into something much deeper. We are taken off the beaten path into the dark recesses of the subconscious mind. Think Vanilla Sky meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and you have Trance. The preview alone does not do it justice.
The movie starts out action packed as Simon, played by James McAvoy, tells us the in’s and out’s of how to deal with art theft at an auction gallery. The paintings at these auctions are worth millions upon millions of dollars. The art of art theft takes a lot more technology in this present day than it once did in the past. But it still takes muscle and it still takes nerve. Don’t be a hero. No piece if art is worth a human life. But Simon doesn’t follow his own advice and suffers a brain injury at the hands of one of the thieves.
This head con-artist, Frank, played by Vincent Cassell (who I absolutely love), realizes that his own scam was scammed when he discovers that he didn’t steal the prized painting after all. Simon, of all people, was involved in the heist and can’t remember what he did with the painting due to amnesia. Hypnosis is their only option for answers. So we meet Dr. Elizabeth Lamb, played by the stunning Rosario Dawson. Dr. Lamb has her suspicions about the real reason why Simon is there to see her. She confronts Simon, tells him that she can help him and then tells Frank that she wants equal status in the group for what she is about to do.
Simon is an easy subject. He floats in and out of trance with ease. But it is not as easy to get the exact location of the painting. Repeated attempts prove fruitless, but these scenes are so cool as we are brought into these surrealistic mind-trips. After so many attempts, it is hard for Simon to decipher imagination from reality. He becomes paranoid and obsessed with Elizabeth.
The character development is really amazing in this film. Simon is a character we feel sorry for, but wonder what his motives are for hiding the painting, or even if he did. Simon’s spiral into madness is very convincing, while still holding on to his innocence, or so we hope to think. Elizabeth wants to help (and also shows some full frontal nudity). She is strong, sexy and mysterious. But with unclear motives we ask ourselves if she could she be a master manipulator, taking control of all these men without them even realizing. The internal struggle the audience goes through is just as significant as the internal struggles on screen.
With so many questions it is hard to tell where this film is going to end. It could take off in so many directions. The direction it takes is so shocking, so depressing, and so unexpected. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Greed, money, love, power, control, and revenge- the emotions are overwhelming. It is actually one of the biggest twists I have seen on film, or multiple twists I should say. The subconscious can hold deep, dark secrets. I felt the same shock and heartache I felt when watching Vanilla Sky for the first time. I 100% recommend this intelligent, powerful, and haunting film.
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