Trance (Blu-ray Review)

Trance BluTrance is one of those 2013 films like Stoker where I had every intention of seeing it theatrically, but for one reason or another the stars didn’t align properly and ultimately plans fell through.  Simply put, I call that the hardships of life.  And much like Stoker, movie goers and critics alike have given Trance higher than average regards thus giving me slightly elevated expectations.  So that says something to me, right?  Of course it does!  My mind works in both quantifications and justifications.  So on average I should have anywhere from a 60 to 70 percent chance of liking both films.  However, unlike Stoker, it wasn’t a letdown to me and I really enjoyed being “hypnotized” by Danny Boyle’s Trance.  Wanna know why?  Come on!  You know you do.

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Trance is a 2013 British psychological thriller film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Joe Ahearne and script doctored by John Hodge.  The film stars James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson’s vagina (rest assured that this will make complete sense during the viewing).  Other than that odd tidbit regarding Dawson’s flap, the flick also has quite the shelf life too.   What do I mean by that?  Well, the screenplay has actually been around since 1994 when Ahearne showed it to Boyle and was later turned into a television movie in 2001.  Boyle never forgot the script and two decades later Hodge was putting his loving touches on it to get it ready for a big feature film production…finally!

Here’s what I love about it.  Both Scarlett Johansson and Zoe Saldana were considered for the role that ultimately went to Dawson.  Now not shorting Dawson at all, I would be extremely interested to know whether or not Scarlett or Zoe would have gone as far as Rosario did with the whole…um…frontal nudity scenes.  God bless her.  Oh well, it doesn’t matter.  Rosario is all grown up now and she can make her own decisions.  Thankfully, she chose right!  Haha.  And here’s another fun tidbit to ponder.  Michael Fassbender was actually casted as well, but ultimately had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts and his role was surrendered to Cassel.  I look at it as a crap shoot…Cassel or Fassbender?  They’re both the same caliber in my opinion.  But Cassel has something Fassbender doesn’t…Monica!!!

Reviews of Trance have been mostly in the positive.  I’ll be the first to admit that I was looking forward to this one, but it wasn’t until a little bit into Act 2 that I became fully invested and Trance captured my attention.  When it wants to be, Trance is a riveting thriller.  Other times, it suffers, but never from anything it can’t rapidly recover from in my opinion.  My score is a culmination of many of the heart pounding and riveting sequences, the performances and the story where I thought the reveal was a lot stronger than another movie that I was really looking forward to this year, and that would be Stoker, ladies and gentlemen.  Yes, it was the reveal to me that was the most rewarding.  Having Rosario fully disrobed and groomed didn’t hurt the score either, but that conversation belongs in the video section, doesn’t it?

So what’s it all about?  Hmm…that’s a tough one.  Well, for starters it’s a heist film.  That should suffice for most moviegoers, but WAIT!  It’s also an amnesia film too.  You see, our poor Simon (McAvoy) receives a pretty nasty bump on the head, so nasty that it requires surgery to boot.  This makes him forget.  Um…it makes him forget about something very, very valuable…a famed painting.  And I’ll leave it at that as not to spill any spoilers.

Franck (Cassel) wants what Simon has.  Only problem is that Simon, as I mentioned above, doesn’t remember where it is.  Where what is?  Did you forget already?!  The painting!  So since he can’t beat it out of Simon, Franck decides to take him to see a hypnotist.  Enter the beautiful Rosario Dawson as Elizabeth Lamb.  This is where all hell breaks loose literally as it’s revealed that…  You didn’t really think I would tell you did you?  Gawd!  That would be awful.  I’m at the point in my recap of the film where I probably said too much already and think I need to abruptly pump the brakes.  You will see that things are not always what they seem as Trance breaks into Act 2 and transforms itself into a heart pounding puzzle (at times) aimed at solving and putting together the past to achieve a heist that’s been long in the making.  The only question is who is hypnotizing who?  And better yet…who’s really in control?  These questions and more will be answered and are what’s waiting for you on the other side should you choose to take the Trance ride.  I say go for it!  Life is too short to debate something as trivial as this.  I liked it!  So should you!

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All kidding aside, Trance should boast a perfect video score for the Rosario Dawson scenes alone.  Okay…LOL…I’ll be serious now.  Trance arrives on the Blu-ray format with a 1080p transfer in a AVC MPEG-4 encode and a theatrical 2.40:1 aspect ratio presentation.  The film shifts from different time periods occasionally and in doing so the resolution and image quality changes too.  It’s nothing too drastic and it’s nothing we haven’t seen before like along the lines of the gritty flashbacks found in Casino Royale or something, but needless to say your experience may vary.  So in addition to the grittiness at times, the Blu-ray’s video is mostly pristine with razor sharp moments, earthly and natural colors (when not in flashbacks) and deep black levels.  More importantly, Rosario Dawson’s um…think Basic Instinct…is delivered with the utmost of clarity, depth perception and tenderness that one could ever wish for.  And if you ever wanted to see an iPad smashed into a thousand pieces, you’ve come to the right place too.  The video is near reference levels and that’s all that counts.  The vibrancy will win you over and Dawson’s not too shabby to look at or drool over either.  Haha.

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While the audio does not have the flair of Rosario Dawson’s um…(can you tell I’m obsessed with it?), it’s quite a hypnotizing experience in 7.1 lossless DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound.  I love the riveting and pulsating score as well as the hypnotizing moments where Rosario Dawson’s voice literally engulfs and sounds all around you to put you in a deep “trance.”  You’ll hear her voice loud and clear in those rears as well as appreciate her fine…um…  Like I was saying…the audio at times is an action packed thrill ride when it wants to be and quiet and subdued at other times.  The dialog, with the exception of the hypnotism, is mostly rooted in the center and it’s almost always clear and intelligible.  I did have trouble hearing James a couple of times, but nothing I feel like spending anymore time other than mentioning it to nitpick over.  I feel this audio presentation is a great representation of the fine film you’ll see played out on this Blu-ray disc.  It has just enough punches, bangs and kicks to hang with the big boys when it wants to.

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There’s not a whole lot here, but there’s just enough for fans of the film to sink their teeth into and get dirty with in regards to the Special Features contained on the Blu-ray disc.  I hate the fact that Fox no longer includes iTunes compatible Digital Copies, but whatcha going to do?  So let’s stop wasting precious time and take a closer look at all the extras you’ll find here on the Trance Blu-ray disc.

  • The Power of Suggestion – Making Trance (33:59, HD) – Although its runtime looks brief, I assure you you get a very extensive look behind-the-scenes at the film’s production complete with interviews with the cast and Danny Boyle, as well as from other members of the crew including writer John Hodge.  The coolest part is a little snippet on hypnotism.
  • Danny Boyle: A Retrospective (14:56, HD) – Here we have a short retrospective of the films made by Danny Boyle, which include A Life Less Ordinary, The Beach, 28 Days Later, Millions, Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire (my favorite), 127 Hours, and Trance.
  • Eugene (13:07, HD) – Here we have a short film by Speccer Susser, which finds the title character, a traveler in Washington, DC, coming into the possession of a magic laptop, an Ultrabook that can grant all his wishes.  You can find this video on YouTube too if you do a quick Google search.
  • Deleted Scenes (16:33, HD) – There are seven scenes, which can also be viewed separately.
  • Theatrical Trailer (1:22, HD) – This one is self explanatory I hope.
  • Promo Trailers (HD): There are trailers for The Wolverine, Stoker, The East, Carrie and Hitchcock.
  • Trance Unraveled (6:01, HD) – I found out about this on another website, but there’s also an Easter Egg found in the top right hand corner of the main menu, which puts the real events of the narrative in chronological order.  How cool is that?
  • Ultraviolet – Unfortunately I don’t really care about this flawed standard to go into anymore detail.

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So essentially, what you have here is a craftily created, British psychological thriller with some star power and an amnesia storyline thrown in for good measure.  I was pleasantly surprised and happy with the film’s eventual reveal and Nolan-like conclusion.  Act 2 had me on the edge of my couch’s seat wondering where this story was finally going to go.  It’s basically all linear, so don’t worry about any Memento-like moments, but you need to be braced for a few bumps in the road as things play out in character’s minds and past stories are fleshed out on the screen for all to see and understand.  And if worse comes to worse and you simply don’t care for it, you always have Rosario Dawson…even some butt shots of McAvoy for the ladies too.  See…there truly is something for everyone here.  And that includes an exceptional audio and video presentation to boot with about an hour’s worth of supplements to feed your hunger for more.  Get hypnotized today with Trance.  Bring home the Blu-ray, released this past Tuesday, by clicking here or on the image below.  Enjoy!

Trance Blu-ray


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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