Trance: Mind Over Matter

by Ethan Alter April 5, 2013 8:00 am
<i>Trance</i>: Mind Over Matter

Is there a better director of opening sequences working right now than Danny Boyle? From the invigorating "Lust for Life"-scored chase scene that opens Trainspotting (a sequence that introduced a whole new generation to the pleasures of Iggy Pop and the dangers of heroin addiction) to Cillian Murphy's trek through a desolate, deserted London at the top of 28 Days Later to James Franco's preparations for his wilderness adventure in 127 Hours, Boyle seeks to command your attention from the very first frame. And even if the rest of the film fails to sustain the momentum and excitement of those initial minutes (a list that, for me at least, includes A Life Less Ordinary, Sunshine and -- Oscar be damned -- Slumdog Millionaire), the opening sequence often functions as an almost note-perfect mini-movie in and of itself. Boyle's latest picture, Trance, boasts yet another killer beginning, one that starts with a daring daylight auction house heist and ends with our ostensible hero, auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy), getting knocked upside the head by the ostensible villain, robbery ringleader Franck (Vincent Cassel). In its expert use of music, razor-sharp editing and overall propulsive energy, this sequence highlights in microcosm why Boyle is such a consistently exciting filmmaker... if only sometimes for ten to 15 minutes at a stretch.

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