Thursday, December 12, 2013

Everyone knows amnesia is bollocks.

Of all the things I couldn't believe from my freshman year of college, there's one particular event I witnessed that I still haven't come to terms with. Well, that I'll discuss publicly, anyway. It was early in the Fall semester, freshman orientation if I remember correctly, and hundreds of us had gathered to see a hypnotist in one of the auditoriums. The stuff they did was so ridiculous and embarrassing, I was convinced this shit has to be real. I mean, at the snap of the hypnotist's fingers, I watched a fairly hot chick make out with some guy she thought was Brad Pitt. Whoa. Two thoughts entered my mind: First, is it possible they're faking it? And then, is it possible I can major in hypnosis?

Danny Boyle's Trance may focus on hypnosis and hypnotherapy, but it's really about control. Not only being in control, but allowing others full control over you. In other words, it's a love story, really. A very, very f--ked up love story.

What starts out as a very slick, fast-paced flick about an art heist gone wrong, Trance quickly spirals into madness. See, a very valuable painting has been stolen during an auction. Sort of. During the robbery, minor thug Franck (played by the likably slimy Vincent Cassel) smashes in the head of lead auctioneer, Simon (the always solid James McAvoy) who was guarding the painting. Simon, who despite his training telling him otherwise, has foolishly placed his own safety in jeopardy for the artwork. 

And that, kids, might be the last straightforward thing you're given, as the head trauma makes the entire narrative hinge on someone's faulty/selective memory. Simon has stashed the painting. But, Simon also can't/won't remember shit. Until, it is decided, he sees a hypnotherapist. Well, let me clarify, the world's sexiest hypnotherapist. 

I haven't seen all of Danny Boyle's films, but this one ranks near the bottom from what I have seen. Not because it's a bad film, no, I simply really like his previous stuff. In fact, Trainspotting is in my all-time Top 20. Easily. Anyway, by the end of Trance, I cared, just not as much as I would've liked. The film is very stylish, has some insanely clever twists, fine performances from everyone, and the most alarmingly welcome nudity of my movie-watching career, but despite that, by the end it all goes so f--king crazy, it ended up feeling ridiculous. In fact, extra ridiculous. 

Well, not the very end. That was the opposite of ridiculous. That shit was perfect.

Not perfect by any means, are the Yays and Boos. They weren't around for Trainspotting, Hell, they weren't even around for 127 Hours [review]. But they're here now. And when I snap my fingers, you're going to find them hysterical.

There's supposed to be an oil painting of Le pacte des loups.
Yaaaaaaay!
  • I love British disappointment. Upon seeing his apartment trashed after his hospital stay, McAvoy's Simon cries out, Oh, f--k off. Then, f--k's sake. Brilliant.
  • There's a scene where we get to see a visualization of one of Franck's cronies worst fears, which turns out to be being buried alive. My goodness, it's awful (in the best way).
  • A film where the narrative is jumbled (and untrustworthy) and characters explain things in voice-over is, thankfully, right in Boyle's wheelhouse. I really enjoyed the bits where we the audience see a flashback, have McAvoy's Simon explain to us what's going on, while the other characters watch off to the side, kind of in the memory as well. I'm an idiot, so that retelling might not make any sense...but trust me, it's cool. And well done.
  • There will be more cheering for Rosario Dawson later, but let me say this first. The only thing bigger than her breasts are her balls. Elizabeth is an insanely gutsy lady. 
  • The rampage. Oh shit, do things get out of control late. I don't want to ruin it, other than to say someone gets shot in the dick. And it's not Dawson.
  • How do I know she doesn't have male genitals? Trust me. I KNOW.
  • And finally, the ending. Even though her powers have reached a level where she probably could have gotten Watto to take credits, Elizabeth's final offer is the perfect ending to a movie about f--king with people's heads.
Lost footage from a Josie and the Pussycats table read.
Booooooo!
  • Torture. I'm not 100% sure what they were doing to his fingers, but torturing a guy who can't remember is pretty much a dick move.
  • Not too sure about the ol' dumpster chute maneuver. 
  • Does art devalue if it smells like rotting flesh?
  • Damn you, subtitles! (maybe that should read damn you, peacefully sleeping family!). Either, way [razor whirring] really killed the mood...
  • Of one of the weirdest things (necessary to the plot??) that I have ever seen. It was so frickin' strange, I almost couldn't enjoy it. Pants Hats off to Ms. Dawson for going all in. And a high-five for Boyle for shacking up with her, post flick. Wait, this is a Boo?
  • That whole half-a-talking head bit can also be filed under what the shit is this? Seemed silly.
  • And finally, the motivation for basically the entire story. What? This all happened because you were bored? Try explaining that to the guy with a hole in his dick. Well, two holes. In his dick.
Speaking of headgames, random weird shit and pains in the lower region, I gotta go to work. I might not have majored in hypnosis, but my current job sure does make me feel like I'm in a trance.

11 comments:

  1. Rosario Dawson's vagina. That is the first thing that is going to come to mind whenever I think of this movie. It's not one of Boyle's best, but I still enjoyed it. It was different. Great review! I can see how that "razor buzzing" caption would've killed it though. lol

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    1. That's the first thing I think of...always.

      No seriously, what a weird thing to highlight a film, but that was it. It was sooo jarring...and random. but yeah, ol' Subtitle Guy kind of bummed me out.

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  2. Good review M. This movie's freakin' nuts, but it's a fun freakin' nuts! The only thing I didn't like was how the movie tried to make us care for these characters, and yet, you never knew who to trust. And seeing as that I'm a human who's dated many women in my life, I've come to realize: You don't trust anybody!

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    1. I'm with you regarding these characters. Who the Hell are we supposed to root for? Simon? Maybe...but at the end he's kind of a hard dude to get behind. Elizabeth is hot, so she's the easy choice...but that's no good either. In the end, I was in the Franck camp and that mofo is crazy.

      So...yeah. You pretty much nailed it.

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  3. HA! I loved your final Boo... I agree with that all the way. This movie didn't really work for me, but I thought Dawson's performance was fearless for multiple reasons. I dug her.

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    1. Ultimately, the trivial nature of her motivation maybe one of the more realistic things about this movie. I mean, complete boredom is the reason most people do the weird shit they do.

      Take this blog, for example...

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  4. I saw the movie yesterday and really liked it a lot. The twists were awesome and I wasn't bored for a second - I value movies that don't make me feel like I may slip into a coma. Dawson was fantastic and it was great seeing Cassel as not completely evil asshole for once.

    British disappointment is the best :P

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    1. No, no. It definitely wasn't boring at all, I just didn't love it. I, for whatever reason, hold Boyle to an impossible standard. I guess I wanted it to knock me on my ass and it only grazed me in the nuts.

      If that makes any sense...

      I couldn't agree more about Cassel. At first, I was thinking we were in for more slimy douche...but he ended up being my favorite character.

      It is. Way better than American disappointment!.

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  5. I just love it when Brits cuss and rant. There's something about it that's irresistible to me.

    I'm on the fence about this movie. It sounds both awful and awesome, somehow.

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    1. The accent classes everything up. Their use of 'f--k' is so refined.

      As always, I say go for it. But...your movie-watching time might be a little more precious than mine. Well, a lot more precious, I s'pose.

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