Caryn James

Danny Boyle's 'Trance': James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Twisted Memories

  • By Caryn James
  • |
  • April 4, 2013 9:10 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Playing a sophisticated London auctioneer, James McAvoy gazes into the camera with cool, nerveless clarity as his voiceover gives us the inside tricks of protecting and stealing a painting. This opening sequence of Danny Boyle's Trance is no more than exposition with a dash of red herring, and shouldn't work at all. Yet it does because McAvoy's voice is so captivating, already layered with deception and delusion, and because Boyle's visual creativity sweeps us along. We zoom into the auction room; we're in a van with a gang of mercenaries hired by the auction house in case of trouble; a black and white flashback shows us the good old days when it was easy to steal a Rembrandt. Keep in mind how well McAvoy and Boyle save this opening; that will be extremely relevant to the ending of Trance, a film that looks like a heist movie wrapped in a memory puzzle, but is itself a kind of red herring.

Lesser-Known But Just As Good: Some Other Danny Boyle Films

  • By Caryn James
  • |
  • July 29, 2012 9:45 AM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
Before Danny Boyle was famous, and not long before 28 Days Later came out, I interviewed him, and he said something incredible that I actually believed.  Looking back at his experience directing The Beach, a big-budget fiasco in which the studio insisted he use Leonardo Di Caprio rather than the then-little-known Ewan McGregor, Boyle said he’d has his chance at Hollywood commercial success and wasn’t ambitious for it anymore; he had a comfortable life making the films he wanted, and that was fine with him.

Follow Caryn James

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Poetry, Politics and Memory in "The ...
  • The Bright Side of the Death on 'The ...
  • The Emily Dickinson of Photographs or ...