Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Smooth EnTrance

UK 2013
Directed by Danny Boyle
Playing at cinemas now.

I’m not the biggest Danny Boyle fan, it’s true, but having said that, I almost always appreciate his films on some level and I very much liked his 28 Days Later. That being said, my main reason for going to see this movie was not the director, nor the majority of the excellent cast he has assembled to make this mesmerising thriller. I went to see this gig because of the always brilliant Rosario Dawson, who I first became aware of in the underrated and really quite phenomenal Josie And The Pussycats (seriously, if you want to see a really entertaining and subversive piece of propoganda about the current state of the music industry and the teenage audience it pretends to support, go see Josie And The Pussycats... such a great movie).

Trance is an ensemble piece when it comes to the acting but Rosario Dawson is, once again, the main attraction of this film, for this jaded audience member anyway, and it would certainly be true to say that she has a very “smooth entrance” in this movie... I just can’t tell you why without giving away one of the nicer surprises of the visual splendour of the film.

And visual splendour cut sharply like a diamond with some great editing is exactly what you get from Boyle here and it’s certainly one of the more addictive of the movies he’s made. Unfortunately, the main shaker and mover behind the plot is probably going to be obvious to the intended target audience even from just watching the trailer but, once you get over the fact that this film isn’t really going to surprise you all that much in terms of the deliberate and, sometimes quite elabourate, visual red herrings Boyle plugs you into in order to redirect your attention away from the truth of the plot, then you can start to watch the sometimes quite visceral image/sound poetry purely on its own terms. And frankly, the sooner in to the movie you do that, the more likely you are to have a better time with it.

Boyle uses a variety of techniques from longer, swooping visuals to hand held camera, fast edits, mixed stock treatments and differing rhythms... that he manages to make all that work without losing the interest of the viewer is a good indication of his particular talents in being able to put together a coherent entertainment for the screen. The transitory nature of the little story scenarios he builds up, before pulling them down before you, maybe gets a little tiring and just plain expected even from the outset, but this doesn’t stop there being some really nice little moments including a scene which, although you suspect it’s just a fantasy sequence already, reveals itself through such a nicely surreal and gory effect that you won’t feel cheated by the various redirection tricks going on around you as you watch.

Like a good Italian giallo (which it in no way resembles or tries to be) the deliberate blurring of the audiences focus to be able to bother following a specific line of enquiry makes for a movie where, in the end, you just won’t care who has done what... and like I said, if you saw the trailer then you probably guessed just who is on control here right from the word go anyway. Unfortunately, it’s one of the problems of the subject matter that it almost always tips itself off by its very nature but the director’s “sleight of hand” in some sequences is quite artistically and refreshingly achieved and most viewers who have an eye for visual opulence will not be too worried by the perhaps less than revealing nature of the solution to the mystery (and talking of revealing nature, there’s so much more I could say about the glamorous Ms. Dawson’s contribution to the film, especially in reference to my post title... but it’s probably best I don’t).

Trance is not a really great movie... but it’s certainly a good one and definitely one of the better distractions at the cinema right now if you want to go and see a movie which doesn’t rely totally on blowing things up (although there is some gun play and some quite raw scenes of violence on show here, to be fair). If this is your thing then Trance is probably one of the better options you’ve got at the cinema right now. Definitely something you should sample if you call yourself a fan of the medium and you want to support something British.  Who knows, it might inspire you to try to  give yourself a bit of a smooth entrance every now and again yourself.

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