Starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson
Directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence, some grisly images, and language
A young UK art auctioneer (McAvoy) gets entangled with a group of criminals (led by Cassel) when he protects a hugely valuable piece of art from being stolen by the crafty gang. After the foiled heist and a bit of torture, they force him into hypnotherapy by a beautiful young therapist (Dawson) to try to remember where he might have put the painting once they realize that an injury sustained during the robbery has left him with amnesia.
I was shocked to see a Danny Boyle film released with such little fanfare. After all, he is one of the most respected directors of our time and his films are usually so enjoyable. This one saw very little attention and they didn’t even hold a press screening, which gave me a bad feeling about what I was about to watch.
The good news is that while the film has no chance of becoming a hit – it is still somewhat interesting. Boyle has a signature style that captures your attention and doesn’t let go until the very end. The bad news is that the subject matter isn’t nearly as enticing as you think its going to be after the first act.
The performances here are all solid and really showcase the actors’ talents. I’m convinced that Boyle has a real gift for getting exactly the right performances from his casts and this film is no exception. In addition, his pacing is phenomenal. Yes the production feels a little ADD, but what a way to dress up a movie.
That being said, the story itself is where the film suffers. I love the idea of art theft, but the movie is really about hypnotherapy and the twist that leads to the third act (for which I can’t disclose). Unfortunately, by the time the third act came around I lost empathy for all of the characters and just wanted to see how they’d survive or meet their doom. I wasn’t cheering for anyone. When that happens, you are ultimately taken out of the picture and, in my opinion, just wasting time. C+