Trance [Blu-Ray] Danny Boyle

Trance [Blu-Ray] Danny Boyle
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Amidst the interview snippets in the overly sanitized and marketed "Power of Suggestion" supplement included with the Blu-Ray of Danny Boyle's gender-motivated thriller, Trance, the stylistically driven director talks about making a movie from the female perspective. Having built a career based exclusively on the male experience, having damaged, conflicted, often duplicitous protagonists, he wanted to try his hand at understanding what might motivate a woman to engage with the criminal element. At first, this gender twist doesn't seem to be the case, with an art heist leaving auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy) with a bout of amnesia and a gang of criminals — led by the charismatic Franck (Vincent Cassel) — threatening violence unless he remembers where he hid the painting they're attempting to steal. However, after being subjected to a bit of torture, Simon seeks out the aid of hypnotherapist Elizabeth Swan (Rosario Dawson), who catches onto the entire scheme quite quickly, revealing an elaborate background of mind games and pseudo-fatalistic planning. Her narrative and weirdly prescient tendencies to predict behaviour and actions essentially drive the greater part of Trance, despite often being overshadowed by a pulsating techno soundtrack, moody noir lighting and the litany of candid angles and visual trickery associated with Boyle's particular auteur vision. Once Elizabeth enters into a romance with Simon, there's always a sense that she's aware of far more than she lets on, going behind his back to deal with Franck and his cronies, having enough steely confidence to guide the reactions (and actions) of everyone around her. Swan's primarily weapon is male cognitive limitation, understanding that the men around her are guided by a sense of entitlement and tenuously repressed id impulses. With a bit of flattery and reassurance — something represented by the vaguely sexist handling, and discussion of, pubic hair in art and real life — Elizabeth is able to keep the upper hand while the many men around her yell, fight it out and threaten each other, motivated solely by impulse, desire and power. As noted by Dawson in the supplements, her ability to repress all emotion, despite being guided by an elaborate and empowering retaliation scheme, is ultimately contrary to the template of asserting female intuition and manipulating her bigger picture thinking as a non-violent, feminine weapon. Within the context of a superficial, overly self-conscious Danny Boyle film, however, this sense of empowerment is given an amusingly male, hyperbolized superhero treatment that's ultimately contradictory to her verbalized motivations. In order for him to understand her subtle coercion techniques, Boyle has projected the very values criticized (power, supremacy and effortless confidence) into the protagonist exploiting them, which suggests he missed the point. Still, despite the puerile handling of it all, there's intrigue in witnessing a heroine motivated by defensive, learned tactics ensuring that past heartache and pain will never again take control of her life. It's here, within the periphery and beyond the understanding of the director, that Trance holds its limited power. To be fair, the eventual revelation of all unanswered questions — as a montage — is quite an emotional and powerful reveal, as edited and scored. (Fox)