Movie review: With Danny Boyle’s twist-filled “Trance,” surprises come in layers

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From the April 11, 2013 edition

The many layers of “Trance” might leave you asking yourself, “Wait … did that make sense?” It’s a testament to the filmmaking prowess of Danny Boyle that you might not even care.

Boyle’s credits include “Slumdog Millionaire,” “127 Hours” and breathing new life into the zombie genre with “28 Days Later.” With “Trance,” he rejoins a familiar collaborator in writer John Hodges — the pair adapted “Trainspotting” among other works.

Simon (James McAvoy) is an art auctioneer who gets mixed up with criminals planning a heist. When the heist goes awry, the thugs take Simon to a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson) in hopes of recovering his memory of the location of a missing painting.

Like “The Place Beyond the Pines,” this is another movie where the less you know, the better. Like “The Place Beyond the Pines” this is a movie I recommend with the caveat that not everyone will be on board with where the plot goes.

Boyle keeps things churning to a disorienting techno beat. This is Boyle stretching his pulpy side; it’s most reminiscent of his early Hitchcockian thriller “Shallow Grave.”

McAvoy gives an anchoring performance in the lead. It might just be the Scottish brogue and the Boyle connection talking, but he reminds me a bit of the ever-likable Ewan McGregor.

The joy is in the reveal, and there are multiple layers to peel back. I’m still shaking my head a little, wondering if everything I saw really lined up — I feel kinda “Inception”-ed — but I’ve got faith in Boyle.

If you want a trippy psychological crime/love story, here’s your pick this weekend.

“Trance”

Opens Friday

3 stars out of 4