But the story takes so many twists and turns, going back and forth in time with identities fluctuating constantly, it turns out to be a mess—something that appears to have been produced and directed by a committee. In fact, it was directed by Danny Boyle, written by Joe Ahearne and John Hodge, and produced by five individuals, one being Boyle. Boyle noted on a guest appearance on The Daily Show that Trance was filmed while he took an eight-week leave from directing the 2012 opening ceremony of the Olympics in London. It was edited following the London ceremonies. He is well known for his fine movies (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours), so I have to believe he did not have as much of a hand in this as he did his earlier works. Or perhaps it was the editing. Boyle said in the guest appearance that he intentionally abandoned a chronological sequence—although there was one for the filmmakers to use—because he wanted to throw the audience off and blur the lines between reality and illusion as much as possible. Unfortunately, I think the audience mostly ends up confused.
The cast is well chosen, and McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, and Rosario Dawson are fine actors; they just can’t carry a script that is convoluted and carries on to the point of absurdity. So many red herrings are thrown out—seemingly just to trip up the audience—it begins to look like a study in red. And of course, I have to get on my soapbox about filmmakers having therapists sleep with their patients. Likewise, I object to portrayals of therapists being part of an illegal ruse. The filmmakers’ erotic and paranoid transferences toward their own therapists seem patently obvious to me.
This film is quite a disappointment. Grade: C