Lovelorn mindfucks aren’t what they used to be. I mostly blame Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Jesse Armstrong’s fiercely insightful The Entire History of You from the British series Black Mirror didn’t help (watch it before the mostly likely toothless American remake arrives, courtesy of Robert Downey Jr). So it’s a bit late for Danny Boyle’s lightweight Trance, a mindfuck oddly jammed into a movie about an art heist by some lovable thugs. Don’t read too much into the early torture scene. It’ll pass. The real substance of movie is after the fact, when hypnotist Rosario Dawson helps James McAvoy recover his memory about the $27 million stolen Goya he misplaced. Oops. The solution comes down to Dawson’s shaved pubic hair. I’m not making that up. It’s particularly disappointing that this is what we get when Boyle rejoins Shallow Grave and Trainspotting screenwriter John Hodge.
At least Boyle knows how to shoot dreamlike energetic sequences that weave and build and crescendo spectacularly. The aforementioned reveal about Miss Dawson’s grooming, for instance. Anthony Dod Mantle’s lurid realer-than-real supersaturated cinematography is as gorgeous as ever (you can see Mantle’s work most recently in Dredd). And Trance has a sexy finale that makes me want to watch Boyle’s Sunshine again, which features fiery crescendos on a larger scale. But Trance ends with an unsatisfying “gotcha!” resolution that does more to sell iPads than elicit a-ha’s. Where’s my Eternal Sunshine DVD and Sunshine Blu-ray?