I've only ever really loved one of Danny Boyle's films. That being Slumdog Millionaire. All of his other films are give or take for me. Don't get me wrong some of his films are good, they're just not great. Off the back of his Olympic success and his national treasure status, enter Trance.
Starring Vincent Cassel, James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson, Trance undertakes a card shuffling roll call of sympathy and understanding. Early on, McAvoy's Simon misplaces a valuable painting. Under the persuasive encouragement of Cassel's band of criminals, he ends up seeking the counsel and help of hypnotist, Elizabeth (Dawson), to retrace his steps. This happens in the first twenty minutes of the film. It's a very fast paced film and that's my first negative. It shouldn't be so fast paced, it doesn't fit with the themes of the film at all. Luckily, after it's quick start, it slows down and bit and let's us, the audience, bite a chunk out of the narrative.
Trance has clearly taken a lot of inspiration from Nolan's brilliant Memento. This film glides along a bumpy path. It takes pleasure in scrutinising the tricks and tics of memory. Boyle plays chess with the players and moves them around with the devilish glee of a ringmaster induced with the cruel egomaniacal urge. You can tell he's taking a lot of pleasure as he plots each skittish twist and turn. This is aided, helpfully, by Joe Aherne's source material and the screenplay's joyfully itchy nature.
What I enjoyed most about this film, though, is that Boyle takes a lot of risks. It's a lot more adult than his previous films, but it still has that typical Boyle style that is synonymous with all good directors. Like all of his films, Trance has Boyle's stylistic stamp of authorship.
One critique I would have, is that Boyle tries too hard to trick the audience that he actually overplays it and drops clues that are far too big. However, this may just be the brilliance of Boyle because once you think you've figured out one thing another twist punches you right in the face. It really does make for some tense viewing.
This comes down to Rick Smith's soundtrack. His soundtrack is truly brilliant. There is no movie without this soundtrack. It adds to the tension, it has you holding your breath and it goes hand in hand with the piece just brilliantly.
From Olympic success to Trance. They couldn't be any more different, but they're both brilliant in their own way.