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April 12th, 2013

Movie Review - Trance


Starring: James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson, Danny Sapani, Matt Cross, Wahab Sheikh, Mark Poltimore, Tuppence Middleton

Directed by: Danny Boyle Written by: Joe Ahearne and John Hodge Cinematography by: Anthony Dod Mantle Original Music by: Rick Smith

Premise: A London auctioneer acting as the inside man for a major art theft goes 'off script' and takes a blow to the head, which gives him amnesia as to where he hid the painting he stole when he double crossed the theft team. When tearing his apartment and car apart avails them nothing, they turn to torture. This only ends up proving that he really doesn't remember what he did with it. Desperate, the thieves realize their only hope of getting Simon's memory back might be through the use of a hypnotist. Things start getting very weird after that. (Rated R)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: James McAvoy gave a great performance as Simon. The personality shifts during the dreams and visualized hypnosis sessions were amazing. He's almost unrecognizable by the end of the film as the man we began the voyage with. Vincent Cassel also did a great job. He too went through some transformations of his own as matters played out. Rosario Dawson was fantastic. She sneaked in many of the little cues the audience would need here and there flawlessly.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: There aren't a lot of major ones in this film, but the few there were are done expertly. The finger torture and another bit closer to the end will make you cringe. (Guys will feel a lot of empathy for the second one.) The body during one of the scenes was as gross as anything you'd find in "Bones" - and that's hard to do.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: I can't say too much, as I don't want to give the plot away and ruin it for you. Just be vigilant, lots of little clues are doled out throughout the film. Like the characters, you'll start doubting what is real and what is not. Even the time of the "reveal" is not the real story. If anything, the audience is left to sift the full truth out on their own - to pick the version of reality they can live with. But if you've paid attention, you should be able to tell. As the saying goes - the lamb is but a wolf in sheep's clothing.

The truth is parcelled here and there, but it's really hard to know which bits are it.

I totally loved the whole intro sequence with Simon speaking about the auction trade and paintings. Really sets up the scenario as things suddenly go a different way. If anything seems off at any time, it's a clue! So keep them in mind - trust me.

4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: A lot of symbolism is used in the film and some of it bleeds over into the locations chosen for certain scenes. Some great shots of different locals in England give it a lot of flavor.

5) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: Major kudos for the makeup job on Simon after he's hit his head and he's outside. The swelling on his forehead looked amazing and totally agonizing. From the drilling we saw them do in the hospital, it was pretty bad.

Conclusion: Major mind bender of a film. Reality is but a veil. Great performances on a fun thriller. I'd suggest going see it with several friends and see who comes out with what for what was really going on. Should be fun!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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