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updated: 4/11/2013 11:45 AM

Boyle's 'Trance' a heady thriller laced with violence

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  • Rosario Dawson stars as a psychiatrist in Danny Boyle's style-stuffed crime thriller "Trance."

    Rosario Dawson stars as a psychiatrist in Danny Boyle's style-stuffed crime thriller "Trance."

  • Video: "Trance" trailer


I had really hoped to see Danny Boyle's mind-twisting crime thriller "Trance" a few more hundred times before I reviewed it, just to make sure I understood it better, and it wasn't just a hodgepodge of oh-so-clever manipulations, narrative dead-ends (and dead starts), rabbit tunnels and relaundered realities.

Boyle appears to be conjuring up the spirit of the great Ken Russell in "Trance," another one of those ill-conceived movies insincerely narrated first-person by the main character, who couldn't possible know all the things in the story that he's supposedly telling us.

Simon (James McAvoy), an art auction house employee, tells us how he hooks up with bad guys (led by Vincent Cassel's Frank) to steal a multimillion dollar Goya painting. But a blow to the head gives him amnesia and he can't remember where he stashed the art.

After the old "fingernails get removed by pliers" device persuades Frank that Simon is telling the truth, the poor guy gets hustled off to see a babe of a shrink named Elizabeth Lamb, played by Rosario Dawson.

Can she bring back his memory through the magic of hypnosis?

What else might that bring up?

"Trance" amounts to a stylishly overstuffed neo noir, the sort of thing that the talented Boyle could knock out in record time while concurrently directing something else of greater substance with greater panache.

Yet, this kinky picture (and it gets around to that in jaw-dropping ways) really belongs to Dawson, not McAvoy.

The actress has already established herself as a sexual power on the silver screen.

Here, she couples her sexual energies with an intellectual prowess capable of propelling "Trance" into different dimensions of the crime thriller genre.

Heavy? Maybe not.

Predictable? Definitely not.

Forgettable? Oh, did I forget to mention Rosario Dawson and her sexual energies?

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