Review Roundup - Mind heist

TRANCE (2013)

The latest outing from Danny Boyle offered a reasonable level of intrigue, so despite the clichéd amnesia story trappings being mixed with the other clichés of the inner city crime thriller, I thought it could be worth a shot. During an inside job art heist, the protagonist gets a minor brain injury and is left to figure out where the painting his associates want has gone before they assign him as the guilty party. There may be an answer in alternative therapy, and so hypnosis is employed to delve into the damaged mind. Things get more complex for him, his employer; and the therapist involved, as fragments of the past come together and it begins to seem as though all is not as it appears. See, it sounds familiar already.

Ultimately it's not as trippy as I was hoping for despite a few sequences within the mind or a visual interpretation of it, but the plot does move along at a reasonable pace as things get messy and their methods of getting the information required become more personal. It's surprisingly grim in a number of scenes, with a couple of grisly moments during the third act, during both real world and hypnosis sessions. 

On the downside the narrative is intentionally fragmented as you might expect, which isn't a big deal in itself, but it depends far too much on the payoffs at the end to provide weight to scenes that happen in the earlier parts of the story. It leaves me feeling a bit uninterested early on, despite some decent casting it takes too long to have real any gravity with things piling up in the finale rather than being evenly paced. Along with that, the whole who is stabbing who in the back style plot starts to feel a bit silly as everybody becomes interconnected, and it kind of drains any sympathy for these characters when in the end they all come across as morally empty. 

I've no idea if the 2001 television adaptation of this story did it any better. It was probably less high tech looking; and I could have done without so many tablet computers being shown, which seemed like an odd way of doing reveals where they should have used something that isn't so distracting. As a side, the electronic soundtrack does a good job of keeping the mood both relaxed and sinister when required, and the visual style is pretty good with a lot of high contrast city lights and lighter, dreamier moments. A trip that could be worth taking if it sounds like you kind of thing, despite there being perhaps one twist too many.