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Guest Review: George On Boyle

Cool Poster, Not So Cool Film

The London Olympic ceremony was good, wasn’t it? Danny Boyle, kinetic director and recent national treasure, in my mind is the Hollywood underdog, so it’s with no pleasure that I feel I need to slap him – to inform that Trance is a blip in an otherwise remarkable career.

Perhaps the greatest contribution this film will make is to film students as the ultimate example of style over substance. The editing is a little misjudged and hastily disorientating, the camera constantly canters and thus saturates, and while the music sometimes weaves in effortlessly, it occasionally jars – telling you exactly what to think during the film's wafting climax.

Trance is an off-rail locomotive zooming along so stylishly that by the time my interest in the characters had spiralled away, and the story became so painfully vague (yet predictable concerning plot twists), all that was left was the oddly engaging visceral mess that still stood a level above most of the cheeseburger Hollywood action cluttering multiplexes. There’s also some dark humour that definitely works until you realise the characters are being way too chummy considering they were terrified for their lives just moments before.

James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel apparently had fun making it. Their performances have been bashed to a pulpy mess in the editing room, and only leading lady Rosario Dawson ends up with some moments worthy of a show reel. In fact, I was impressed by the way she saved certain sequences from being the filmic equivalent of tinned spam.

If I had lazily come across this on midnight television, I would have stayed up to watch it, and not regretted that decision. As a Danny Boyle fan, excited by the power of cinema as art and entertainment, I am much in need of a re-watch of 127 Hours to cleanse my Boyle palette.

James A. George is a young filmmaker and BA student in his final months at Kingston University, London.  He is also the Eyewear film critic.
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