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'Trance' tries to fit into too many genres

'Trance' tries to appeal to every audience member, but the effect is more alienating than enjoyable.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / April 5, 2013

James McAvoy stars in 'Trance.'

Susie Allnut/Fox Searchlight/AP


Danny Boyle's "Trance" is one of those psychological thrillers, like Steven Soderbergh's "Side Effects," that tries to be all things to all audiences. It starts out as a heist picture, then morphs into a love story, a hate story, a mad scientist movie, an existential is-it-real-or-is-it-a-dream fantasia – you name it. It's like watching a Hitchcock movie that's been run at top speed through a cinéaste's render. The effect for me was more alienating than enjoyable.
James McAvoy's Simon has lifted a valuable Goya painting from his posh London auction house employer. Vincent Cassel's Frank is the hoodlum boss he betrayed in the heist, and Rosario Dawson's Elizabeth is the hypnotherapist who's supposed to retrieve the location of the stashed canvas from Simon's memory. You're never quite sure, at least until the end, who the film's central player is.
Boyle loads his movie with so many snazzy effects that we lose sight of what it all means – if anything. His showoffiness confuses. Thrillers should be a lot more fun to piece together than this. Grade: B- (Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence, some grisly images, and language.)

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