Danny Boyle’s latest is an intoxicating mix of heist movies like the Bank Job, Inception, Memento and with the hallucination scenes from Boyle’s 127 Hours thrown in. James McAvoy plays Simon, the inside man in an auction house art robbery who stashes the painting and after suffering a bang on the head can’t remember where he stashed it. Understandably the other villains, led by the excellent Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) are a little peeved by this, and hire hypnotist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) to unlock Simon’s lost memories. What follows is a roller-coaster of reality and fantasy as secrets past and present emerge.
All three main leads are excellent and the film oozes Danny Boyle style in the framing of the shots, the lighting and the use of colour. The thumping, often deafening, soundtrack adds to the tension with great effect.
Unless it’s an offense punishable by death to criticise national treasure Danny Boyle, this is an excessively black and bleak film: Boyle described it as his “antidote” to the Olympic ceremony for good reason. Such is the degree of isolation of the audience from ‘likability’ of the main characters that you come away needing to watch a couple of episodes of ‘Father Ted’ to de-ice. Also be warned, if you are offended by such things, that there is some full frontal nudity (Dawson), some ‘full reartal nudity’ (if that’s not a phrase, it is now) from McAvoy, par for the course!, and a couple of scenes of gory violence that stick indelibly in the mind.
Perhaps not Boyle at his very best, but a stylish, tense and imaginative film. Recommended.
Fad Rating: FFFf.