As an art auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy) is drilled in what to do when someone tries to steal a painting mid auction and knows that no painting is worth a life. But that doesn't stop him being a hero when Franck (Vincent Cassel) and his team set about stealing an extremely valuable painting and getting a huge smack to the head with the butt of a gun for his troubles. The thing is that Simon in on it, he was the inside man for the art heist but he was double crossing Franck and so he hid the painting and that bump on the head and the following brain surgery has robbed him of his memory as to where he put it. With Franck and his gang torturing him Simon pays hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) a visit to see if she can unlock the part of his brain which he can't access. The thing is that is she helping or is she implanting thoughts in to his mind.
"Trance" feels like it is a magic act which starts of with some slight of hand with this insight in to the security operations of an auction house where the deputy auctioneer grabs the painting and puts it in a secure place whilst a bunch of heavies sit in a van outside just in case something goes down. But with the aspect of Danny Boyle's wit when it comes to those heavies combined with the slickness of an "Ocean's Eleven" style heist all is clearly not as it seems and before we know it we become aware that Simon is not only the inside man in the heist but also one who is double crossing.
But following the slight of hand with all not as it seems we then switch over to the power of suggestion and now we get in to the movie where we keep on getting told stuff. This person is helping, this person is bad and so on and so forth but is we are being told or are we being made to think something. And then on top of this it then toys with us as things change as we switch between reality and hypnotised memories which intentionally set about confusing us with twist upon twist until we are not sure who is who. And that is the things about "Trance" for all the imagery at its heart it is a good old fashioned who is screwing who movie where the truth is that probably nothing is as it seems and you have to get to its ending to learn the truth.
Now any magician knows that part of the illusion is the presentation and Danny Boyle gives "Trance" the works. He picks the right cast so we have young, smooth and sexy plus plenty of snap and revelation so almost every scene contains something to distract be it the red lighting in a corridor to a scene where thanks to Elizabeth Simon believes he is getting electric shocks every time he thinks of her yet the scene ends with us learning it is far from the truth.
The thing with "Trance" is that because we have a movie of twists, turns and double crosses all shadowed by hypnosis means it can get away with pretty much what ever it likes as it can bends the rules when ever it likes. It can do the equivalent of a Bobby Ewing in the shower if it liked because it can say that it was all a dream, a created memory which means following it is not easy and maybe a futile thing to do.
What this all boils down to is that "Trance" is an entertaining modern movie which enjoys toying with the audience by twisting what is and what isn't real. But because it so clearly is a "mind f." movie it makes you aware that all is not as it seems right from the word go, making you to alert to the fact you are being screwed with.