After a year of wowing the world with his Olympic Opening Ceremony, Danny Boyle (no Sir Danny, thank you kindly) is keeping the setting of London. Once again demonstrating his impressive versatility, Trance is the story of art thief, Simon (James McAvoy) who has inconveniently forgotten where his recent steal is hidden. This comes much to the annoyance of Franck (Vincent Cassel) who is keen to unlock the secret from Simon’s subconscious. Enlisting the help of hypnotherapist Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) to help recover its location, Simon quickly begins to discover that the stakes are far higher than he originally anticipated.
The prospect of Boyle tackling yet another new genre is a tantalising one. He will likely be hoping it will join the likes of Inception, a film which appealed to a large mainstream audience without having to sacrifice a complex narrative. And with Boyle’s penchant for arresting visuals we can hope for another critical success after his two previous films, 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire, were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars (the latter winning the award).
Boyle once again has gathered an excellent international cast, with McAvoy hoping Boyle may be looking for another long-term Scottish muse after his acrimonious split with Ewan McGregor (the two famously fell out when Boyle cast Leonardo Dicaprio over him in The Beach). The American Rosario Dawson and French Vincent Cassel join him to emphasise the global nature of the London art scene.
Few directors can claim to have directed films covering everything from zombie apocalypses and crack addicts to Mumbai slumdogs and ill-fated space missions (Sunshine– his most underrated film), but Boyle continues to refuse to be strapped to one genre. Rather than be seduced by the charm of Hollywood after his Oscar success, he’s remained in good ol’ Blighty and continued to defy expectations. After all, who would have guessed that after the huge success of Slumdog Millionaire Boyle would choose his next project to be a 90 minute film about man trapped between a rock and a hard place (if you’ll excuse the pun).
But, if the trailers are anything to go by, Trance could be a new addition to Boyle’s eclectic repertoire and we can only hope that he continues to constantly alter our expectations. Maybe a romantic comedy next? But set it in a mental institution, just to keep it fresh.