Trance is a British drama thriller film directed by Danny Boyle and starring James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel. As you might have guessed by the name of the film, it involves hypnosis.
Earlier this year I was approached by a production team associated with Trance to provide an insight into clinical hypnotherapy. I got to see an exclusive preview of the movie and was then interviewed on film, where I offererd my knowledge and experience of hypnotherapy. I was subsequently invited to attend the World Premiere in London’s West End, Leicester Square on Tuesday 19th March 2013.
Simon (played by James McAvoy) is a fine art auctioneer responsible for the auction of a Goya painting, worth millions. Following emergency protocol to hide the painting during a heist, Simon soon finds himself embroiled in the theft. But after being knocked to the ground by a blow to his head, his memory is completely wiped from his mind, including the whereabouts of the painting. Despite the use of physical violence and torture, the gang fail to help Simon remember. Eventually and together, they have an idea to seek help from a hypnotherapist, Elizabeth Lamb (played by Rosario Dawson).
The hypnotherapist works with Simon at her Harley Street office whilst the gang sit in a vehicle outside listening through secretly hidden devices. As the story moves along, Elizabeth, the hypnotherapist, begins working with the gang to improve rapport and to help reveal Simon’s missing recollections. Relationships then change; the hypnotherapist becomes intimately involved with the gang leader, as well as with Simon, the auctioneer.
The plot continues to unfold, with cleverly put together scenes of Simon’s confusing flashbacks – are they real or imagined? We are also left to wonder who was actually involved in this crime in the first place, and who has the painting? Any trust we may have developed during the film towards any of the characters is soon diminished. It all gets rather complicated and just as soon as we think we have an understanding and know the truth, it takes a twist. Could what we are seeing and experiencing be real or imagined? If it is real how, do we really know? Eventually, after more drama, more therapy and more violence, discoveries are made and there is a brilliantly thought out and powerful conclusion to the story.
Trance is a fantastic, mind bending, psychological thriller that keeps you guessing, with many intelligent twists and turns. You can learn more about the film over at IMDB, where I’m glad to see it has received plenty of positive reviews. It’s well worth a watch so catch it while you can!
The movie does bring a number of ethical issues to light in regards to the client / therapist relationship. I will address the ethical and professional issues of Trance in my next article.