00:00 April 16, 2013
By: David Vicari
[Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures]

To me, the amnesia and repressed memory inner workings of Danny Boyle's are utterly ridiculous, but then again, so is Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945). Like Hitchcock, however, Boyle is such a masterful director that he is able to pull us in and make us completely believe the absurdity of the plot.

Because the movie has twists and turns and reveals, nothing turns out to be what it seems. So, here is what we think we know is going in: auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy) teams up with a gang of career criminals, led by Franck (Vincent Cassel), to steal a priceless Goya painting. Rethinking his greed quotient, Simon decides to double-cross his partners and swipe the painting for himself. During the heist, however, he is hit on the noggin so hard that he loses his memory and can't remember where he hid the painting. Franck wants the painting so badly that he hires hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) to jog Simon's memory. All I can say without spoiling anything is that much more is revealed thanks to the therapy sessions.

Writer and director Boyle (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) has created a trippy psychological thriller that is occasionally confusing, but it's confusing in a good way. You enjoy trying to fi gure out what is really going on. In fact, Trance is a movie that is durable for repeated viewings to see if you have fi gured it out and if all the pieces of the puzzle fi t.

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