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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating but Worthwhile If You Can Just Accept & Enjoy
It's not often I'm left unsure of how I feel about something. I think most people much like myself will waver between two opinions--either this movie is needlessly confusing/tedious and the director was just getting off on being clever, or this movie is a fantastic graphic psychological thriller. After having mulled on this for a while though, I've decided that I am in...
Published 9 months ago by Madeline

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointed. Here's why...
This is a really good movie, but had more of an impact in its original theatrical version, which was rated NC-17. This Blu-ray version is R. I paid significantly more through another Amazon Seller who advertised his copy as being rated NC-17 and an import. It wasn't.
Published 1 month ago by M. Gariti


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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating but Worthwhile If You Can Just Accept & Enjoy, July 1, 2013
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This review is from: Trance (Amazon Instant Video)
It's not often I'm left unsure of how I feel about something. I think most people much like myself will waver between two opinions--either this movie is needlessly confusing/tedious and the director was just getting off on being clever, or this movie is a fantastic graphic psychological thriller. After having mulled on this for a while though, I've decided that I am in the latter camp.

British director Danny Boyle of "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Trainspotting" has created a world that is both paradoxically grounded in a gritty R rated visual, yet is on a whole different dimension when it comes to the plot and sequencing of events. Much like "Inception," "Trance" can be interpreted several different ways. The time frame of events, what is actually real, and who is "telling" the story are all subject to discussion. Unlike "Memento" where the story is clearly told backwards, it's possible that "Trance" is not linear either backwards or forwards. But at the same time, it could be. This is both part of the fun, as well as part of the frustration I felt when watching for the first time.

I tend to gravitate towards mysteries or plot twists that are shocking due to their relationship to the rest of the story, yet "Trance" is different. Its plot twists are not something that you can definitively figure out like a good mystery, nor are they related to the story so much as the very method of filming. There was a point while watching the movie though, where I just accepted the complexities and relaxed into enjoying the stylish and dream like narrative though. Strangely, once I let go of forcing things to make sense--the movie actually picked up and I started really noticing details that helped in my understanding.

James McAvoy as the intriguing art auctioneer who comes by a head injury/amnesia, and Rosario Dawson as his hypnotist with ulterior motives absolutely nail their respective roles. Their minute facial expressions and body language are spot on, and really push depth into the script and into their characters. The soundtrack by Rick Smith is appropriately scattered and the electronic edge serves the mood of the movie as well.

At the end of the day, this movie really stuck with me despite having seen it a while ago. While it didn't really effect me emotionally, it was mentally interesting enough that I kept going through the events in my head and wanting to discuss my latest theories with my friends. Visually and musically, it's a feast. I would highly recommend this movie to people who enjoy movies like "Inception", "Memento" or even "Donnie Darko." If you're willing to go along with the ride, that ride can take you places no other movie I've seen this year has been able to do.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Octane, Visually Powerful and Haunting, April 24, 2013
This review is from: Trance [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Trance (2013) - James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel

Director: Danny Boyle (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, and 127 Hours)

Premise: Simon (James McAvoy) is an employee at an auction house in charge of managing and protecting expensive paintings. When his auction house comes under attack by Franck (Vincent Cassel) and his henchmen, Simon is struck in the head and forgets the location of the painting. After Simon's release from the hospital, Franck is determined to jog his memory - taking him to a professional hypnotist (Rosario Dawson) to recover the painting.

Thoughts: This film is quintessential Danny Boyle - break neck pace, stirring visuals, frenetic style at times and brimming with ambition. The film's story is layered with hypnotic sequences which overlap with real sequences. At times, the film can be a bit murky and confusion, mirroring Simon's own state of confusion after the attack - as the layers of hypnotism take their toll we, the viewer, is left wondering what, if anything, is real and if Simon is being manipulated or simply losing his mind. When the final act begins, the "reveal" flips the entire story on its head - changing our perspective but informing the entire journey up to that point.

Should you buy this film: Are you a fan of any of Boyle's previous films? Ambitious, erotic and thoroughly entertaining it is a worthy addition to any collection. On the fence? Give it a rent. But if you're a fan of repeat viewings and intense thrillers, this is a must have.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars for this excellent twisty thriller, April 22, 2013
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This review is from: Trance (DVD)
This has been a pretty good year already with twisty psycho-dramas. Following on the heels of the earlier "Side Effects," Danny Boyle shifts his directing gears from "127 Hours" and "Slumdog Millionaire" to this confusing thriller.

Simon (James McAvoy) works for a high end auction house that specializes in expensive art. The real expensive kind. During an attempted heist headed by Franck (brilliant Vincent Cassel), Simon tries to safeguard the most expensive work, a Goya, but is hit in the head by the butt end of Franck's rifle. He lands in the hospital and when he recovers, has amnesia regarding the events.

As it turns out Franck and company only got an empty frame. Franck searches Simon's house and car but comes up empty. He then tortures poor Simon. When that doesn't work, they hire a hypnotherapist played by Rosario Dawson in an award-worthy performance. As a veteran of these type films filled with false leads and premises, I can usually get close to what is going on. I will admit, I couldn't figure this one out.

Confusion and manipulation is always on the table but I thought Boyle and company had maybe one too many twists. This film is well acted and visually beautiful. And then there is Dawson as Elizabeth who shows off her acting skills and plenty more. And it's all good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trippy, August 29, 2013
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This review is from: Trance (Amazon Instant Video)
This is one of those movies you just have to hang on and let happen, trusting that it will all make sense in the end..and it does and doesn't, but it is a fun trip along the way. Get only if you like movies like Donnie Darko or Inception.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I wish I Could Forget it, April 1, 2014
This review is from: Trance (Amazon Instant Video)
Screw this movie and the horse it rode in on. I only gave it 1.5-2/5 because the acting was good and the cinematography was good. The rest of the movie was pure drek. SLIGHT SPOILERS! Between the science of hypnosis being COMPLETELY misrepresented and used as a blanket excuse for plot holes, the characters all being deplorable sociopaths, and the ending asking us to forgive every evil deed and walk away with a whimsical sense of flirtatious mystery simply because of the gender of the one character, this is the first movie in a while that I was genuinely enraged by. Here is a test I apply occasionally to movies to see if I am being pandered to: If you reverse the gender of every major character and change nothing else, would the protagonist still be a hero or just be a self-serving monster? In this case...monster. And there was ZERO reason for the graphic nature of the nudity in this movie. Now, I don't care if you include some nudity in your movie as long as it serves the story, and in this case the nudity is mostly in service of the story, BUT when you make the scenes so blatant and graphic that it comes across as an EXCUSE to show graphic nudity, you go way past artistic expression and wind up right back on the level of a 70s exploitation film.

This was a truly awful movie with no sense of itself that thought it was smarter and bigger than it was. it comes across as though written by an immature film student with social issues and fetishistic tendencies and no sense of restraint. The movie you see in the previews is better. Just watch the ads for this film and imagine a better story. It'll save you the frustration, time, and cash you'd just wind up wasting on this mess. I wish I could hypnotize the memory of this awful movie out of my head.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointed. Here's why..., February 18, 2014
By 
M. Gariti (Pittsburgh, PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Trance [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is a really good movie, but had more of an impact in its original theatrical version, which was rated NC-17. This Blu-ray version is R. I paid significantly more through another Amazon Seller who advertised his copy as being rated NC-17 and an import. It wasn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish: Some style, no substance, December 23, 2013
By 
F. Gibbons (Boston, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Trance [HD] (Amazon Instant Video)
I'm usually up for 'mind-bending' movies:Memento, Looper, Spotless Mind - loved them all. What makes them all work is that you're drawn in - you don't understand what's going on, but you WANT to, and you stick with it to see what happens. That's what makes this one different, at least for me: it started off OK, and it was clear from exposition at the beginning that there would be more to the movie than a simple heist. But then, there's some really hard-to-swallow twists that just don't work. I had to quit after the first half or so, I couldn't take it any more.

It's not just that they don't make sense - I'm OK with it not making sense, as long as I feel I need to just go along with it. Some of these twists just seem in service to some show-off-y film-making: the fMRI machine that is available to the crooks and apparently for their private use; the fact that criminals would allow shrink into their group (I didn't watch till the end, but I'm going to guess that there'll be a scooby-doo moment at the end where it's revealed that she master-minded it all). The scene that made me turn it off was where Simon is in the MRI machine thinking he's getting shocked. There's some really wooden dialog, there's no chemistry between any of the characters, and that just piled on top of the overall non-sensicality of it,, and pushed it over the edge for me.

I've read rottentomatoes.com, and many of those who liked it commented on the cinematography, by which I think they mean the sunrises and overal decor. For my money, that's a REALLY minor element in carrying a movie. You want stunning cinematography, check out Top of the Lake, the miniseries set in New Zealand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best foreign films I've ever seen, December 4, 2013
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This review is from: Trance [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is a really good foreign movie that has good twists and turns throughout the movie. I highly recommend it for those who like these genres. You also get to see lots of Rosario Dawson in this movie. She's absolutely gorgeous!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stylish Nonsense, September 27, 2013
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This review is from: Trance (Amazon Instant Video)
You know when you're a little kid making up your own play or story and you just keep adding stuff even though it has no relevance to what just preceded it? "And then, there was a firetruck! And then, there was a monster! And then, um, there was a tornado!" That's kind of the way I felt this movie played out. It was stylish and attractive, with a good cast, but it was pretty much a lot of nonsense, and I felt after a certain point the director was so confused by the plot he just kept adding stuff in order to muddle his way to some sort of conclusion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't try multitasking while watching, September 6, 2013
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This review is from: Trance (Amazon Instant Video)
This is a suspenseful, well written and produced film...not one you can multitask while watching. A psychological thriller with twists that keep you connected...trying to anticipate what's next. A good stretch of skills from all actors, especially Rosario Dawson.
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Trance [Blu-ray]
Trance [Blu-ray] by Danny Boyle (Blu-ray - 2013)
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