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Non-Review Review: Trance

Trance is a dirty, messy little film. I’m not talking in terms of gore or graphic violence – although there is a surprising amount on display here. Instead, Trance feels like Danny Boyle is trying to get back in touch with his roots, the sort of stylishly shot, haphazardly structured and uncomfortably candid films from his earlier career. Boyle has, after all, gone from an underground auteur to a part of the cinematic establishment.

After all, we’re no longer talking about the director you constructed such grubby little pleasures as Shallow Grave or Trainspotting. Danny Boyle has an Oscar on his mantelpiece for Slumdog Millionaire, and a two nominations for 127 Hours. This is a man who organised and oversaw the London Olympics last year. You don’t get more legitimate or mainstream than that. Trance reads like an attempt by Boyle to prove that he hasn’t ventured too far away from his cinematic origins, and can still turn out a grubby little niche thriller starring a cast of sociopaths just waiting for an excuse to turn on one another.

Trance lacks the broad appeal of Slumdog Millionaire or even 127 Hours, but I’d be lying if I said I could resist its trashy pulpy charms. There’s a thrill here in watching the cinematic sleight of hand, observing as a veteran master of illusion proves he still can handle the old standards. It isn’t anything new or revolutionary, and there’s the constant threat that it might unravel at any given moment, but the thrill of Trance is watching Boyle trying to hold it all together. He doesn’t quite make it look effortless, but he gets there in the end.

It's a frame!

It’s a frame!

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Non-Review Review: Wonder Woman

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. This is one of the animated feature films involving the characters from the creators of the original animated shows.

Did you… did you stop Ares?

No. I didn’t. I couldn’t.

What? Why not?

I had to save you.

(slap!)

Ow!

– Diana clarifies to Steve that she isn’t a damsel in distress

I have to confess, I’ve never been grabbed by Wonder Woman as a concept. Is she a feminist? A socially conscious superhero? A female superman? A superhero who is willing to take a life if it’s necessary? A diplomat? She’s been all these things and many more, which is perhaps why it’s hard to get a handle on her – which is perhaps why it’s difficult to care for her. Her origins cannot be summed up in a single sentence like Batman (an orphaned “rich kid with issues… lots of issues”) or Superman (who Grant Morrison managed to sum up in eight words) – her origin will likely eat up at least a paragraph of this review. As such, you can understand my surprise that Wonder Woman is perhaps the best DC comics animated adaptation they have produced to date.

Taking a swing at the character...

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