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Danny Boyle
James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel, Danny Sapani, Matt Cross, Wahab Sheikh, Mark Poltimore
Writing Credits:
Joe Ahearne, John Hodge

From Academy Award-Winning director Danny Boyle comes an 'exhilarating brain-twister' (New York Post)! After a blow to the head during his attempted robbery of a $27 million Goya painting, Simon (James McAvoy), a fine-art auctioneer, awakens to find that the painting - and his memory - are missing. Forced by his ruthless crime partner Franck (Vincent Cassel) to undergo hypnosis, Simon enters into a deadly love triangle with his seductive hypnotist (Rosario Dawson). As the plot twists, the line between reality and dream becomes blurred in this fast-paced, unpredictable, 'sexy and suspenseful' (Empire) thriller.

Box Office:
$20 million.
Opening Weekend
$131.145 thousand on 4 screens.
Domestic Gross
$2.319 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1
Brazilian Portuguese
Bahasa Indonesian
Supplements Subtitles:
Brazilian Portuguese

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 7/23/2013

• Deleted Scenes
• “The Power of Suggestion” Featurette
• “Danny Boyle Retrospective” Featurette
Eugene Short Film
• “Trance Unravelled” Easter Egg
• Trailer and Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

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Trance [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 5, 2013)

With 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle won both the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. It also took in a bunch of money and became a major hit.

While not as successful, 2010’s 127 Hours at least earned another Best Picture nod, among other nominations. Financially it lagged well behind Slumdog, but given its low budget, it turned a profit.

So what happened with Boyle’s next flick, 2013’s Trance? Not much. The film never ran on more than a few hundred screens in the US and earned a meager $2 million. It did better overseas, but not by a lot; with a total worldwide gross of $22 million, it barely earned back its budget.

Coming off of the success of his prior two films, how is it possible that a noted director could end up with what is essentially a direct-to-video release? I don’t know, but I thought Boyle’s track record made Trance worth a look.

Art auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy) conspires with gangster Franck (Vincent Cassel) to steal a $27 million Goya painting. However, Simon pulls a doublecross and makes off with the item himself.

Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t play well with the brutal Franck, who pressures Simon to return the Goya. However, during the robbery, Franck bashed Simon on the noggin, an act that left the auctioneer with amnesia – and no memory of what he did with the painting. To facilitate the recovery of the art, Simon undergoes hypnosis – with unpredictable results.

And possibly off-putting story telling, too. A movie that places the viewer in the protagonist’s mind opens up many opportunities for a jumbled narrative, and Trance threatens to veer off in incomprehensible directions at times. For much of the movie, we wonder how much of what we see actually exists or how much comes just from Simon’s mixed-up brain.

While this might threaten to lose the viewer, I think the potentially confusing narrative works pretty well. Trance keeps us disoriented enough to maintain its distance but it doesn’t become oblique just to mess with us. As much as it veers toward the perplexing side of the street, it remains understandable enough to avoid potential alienation.

Much of the fun from Trance comes from the tightrope-walking way it accomplishes these goals. It shows the influence of disorienting flicks like Memento and also displays a Hitchcockian side, but Boyle ensures that it doesn’t feel like a rip-off.

Instead, he gives the movie energy and allows it to present a lot of sizzle. Given the potential confusion, the film’s forward thrust becomes another way to keep the audience involved. Even when we threaten to lose the thread, the visceral thrills maintain our attention.

While I don’t think Trance works as well as Memento, I feel it fares nicely in its own right. The movie delivers a complex narrative in a bright, imaginative way that allows it to prosper.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Trance appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This became a mostly strong presentation.

For the most part, definition satisfied. A smattering of wider shots looked a little soft, but those instances occurred infrequently. Instead, the majority of the flick appeared accurate and tight. I witnessed no signs of shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes failed to occur. No print flaws cropped up either.

Like so many modern films, Trance opted for a palette than favored teal and orange – especially teal. As tiresome as those choices can be, they came across appropriately here. Blacks were dark and dense, and low-light elements showed positive clarity and delineation. I felt pleased with the image.

Though not tremendously ambitious, the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack worked fine. The soundscape emphasized music, as the score cropped up actively in all the channels, including active usage of the surrounds. Effects demonstrated less involvement but they added good atmosphere and immersiveness throughout the film; while they lacked standout elements, they contributed useful ambience.

Audio quality always seemed strong. Music was dynamic and full, with clean highs and deep lows. Effects also showed nice clarity and vivacity, while speech was natural and concise. This remained a pretty good mix.

A handful of extras fill out the set. The Power of Suggestion runs 33 minutes, 59 seconds and includes notes from director Danny Boyle, producer Christian Colson, screenwriter John Hodge, production designer Mark Tildesley, costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb, fine art painter Charlie Cobb, editor Jon Harris, clinical psychologist Professor David Oakely, sound recordist Simon Hayes, director of photography Anthony Dod Mantle, and actors Rosario Dawson, James McAvoy, and Vincent Cassel. We learn about the film’s origins and development, story/character topics, sets and locations, production, sound and costume design, cast and performances, the film’s psychological topics and use of art, editing, music, and some other topics.

It’s too bad Trance doesn’t provide a commentary, but “Power” still manages to become a good overview. The show covers a nice variety of subjects annd does so with a minimum of fluffiness, which helps it turn into a useful piece.

Danny Boyle Retrospective lasts 14 minutes, 56 seconds and features a look back from the director himself. He discusses his career – well, lots of it, at least. Boyle skips his first two movies, presumably because they’re the only ones Fox didn’t release. It’s odd to see a Boyle retrospective that doesn’t cover Trainspotting but this is still a fairly interesting overview.

Seven Deleted Scenes fill a total of 16 minutes, 13 seconds. Most offer insubstantial additions to existing pieces, so don’t expect much from them. At 11 minutes, 23 seconds, “It Wasn’t A Dream” offers easily the longest of the cut snippets, but that doesn’t mean it offers a ton of extra material; it still pads out a segment from the final film, so while it delivers an expansion, I can’t say it adds to the experience.

We also find a short film called Eugene. It goes for 13 minutes, seven seconds and shows a man who receives a magical computer while on vacation. I don’t know why it appears here – I can’t find any obvious connection to Trance - but it offers an entertaining fable.

The disc opens with ads for The Wolverine, The East and Stoker. Sneak Peek also includes promos for Hitchcock and Carrie, and the disc throws in the trailer for Trance as well.

A small Easter egg also shows up via a featurette entitled Trance Unravelled. Click right from “Extras” to reveal the six-minute, one-second program. It essentially provides a “Cliff’s Notes” version of the film’s events. If the movie left you confused, it’s a helpful synopsis.

A provocative psychological thriller, Trance didn’t find an audience in theaters, but it shows that it deserves wider attention. With interesting twists and turns, it becomes an involving experience. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and audio along with a few decent bonus materials. I like the film and recommend this release.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.6428 Stars Number of Votes: 14
7 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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