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Vincent Cassel Breaks Genre, Gender Rules in Boyle's 'Trance,' Plays CG Monster in 'Beauty and the Beast' (TRAILER)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 18, 2013 at 3:38PM

I was fascinated by "Trance," Danny Boyle's smart, assaultive psychological thriller (Fox Searchlight, April 5), which resembles Darren Aronofsky's darkly violent ballet drama "Black Swan," also starring Cassel, or Steven Soderbergh's nastily twisty "Side Effects," which also pivots on a sexily manipulative femme fatale. Boyle's stylish thrill-ride breaks genre rules as it goes. At the center of the movie is an all-is-not-what-it-seems triangle between ruthless gangster Vincent Cassel, who at first tortures London fine-art auctioneer and amnesia victim James McAvoy to find out where he has stashed a stolen Goya painting, then hires a seductive hypno-therapist (Rosario Dawson) to ferret it out of him.
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Vincent Cassel
Vincent Cassel

I was fascinated by "Trance," Danny Boyle's smart, assaultive psychological thriller (Fox Searchlight, April 5), which resembles Darren Aronofsky's darkly violent ballet drama "Black Swan," also starring Vincent Cassel, or Steven Soderbergh's nastily twisty "Side Effects," which also pivots on a sexily manipulative femme fatale. Boyle won the Directing Oscar in 2008 for Best Picture winner "Slumdog Millionaire"; his last film was 2010's Oscar-nominated "127 Hours." He subsequently focused his efforts in London on a stage version of "Frankenstein" and 2012's opening ceremony for the London Olympics.

Boyle's stylish thrill-ride breaks genre rules as it goes. At the center of the movie is an all-is-not-what-it-seems triangle between ruthless gangster Vincent Cassel, who at first tortures London fine-art auctioneer and amnesia victim James McAvoy to find out where he has stashed a stolen Goya painting, then hires a seductive hypno-therapist (Rosario Dawson) to ferret it out of him.

Cassel, 42, is a multi-lingual, second-generation French movie star (besides his native French, he speaks Italian, Russian, Portuguese, and English); his father was Jean-Pierre Cassel (whose last film was "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"). The younger actor's handsome, dangerous athleticism has served him well in diverse roles, many of them violent bad guys in action. You've seen him in such intense French films as "La Haine," "Brotherhood of the Wolf," "Irreversible" (in which he co-starred with wife Monica Belluci) and his Cesar-winning role as the title gangster in Jean-Francois Richet's sprawling period bio-epic "Mesrine," as well as Steven Soderbergh's "Oceans 12" and "13" and David Cronenberg's Russian gangster film "Eastern Promises" (he pops up in the sequel) and Freud vs. Jung drama "A Dangerous Method."  (My last video interview with him is here.)

Check out our Q & A and the mindblowing red band trailer below.

This article is related to: Interviews, Interviews , Interviews , Vincent Cassel, Danny Boyle, James McAvoy


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.