There’s a 1980 song by “The Pretenders” called “Brass in Pocket” which could have been written for the movie “Trance”:
I feel inventive…
Got motion, restrained emotion.
Got something, I’m winking at you,
Gonna make you, make you, make you notice…
Gonna use my arms,
Gonna use my legs,
Gonna use my style,
Gonna use my side-step
Gonna use my fingers.
Gonna use my, my, my imagination.
Cause I’m gonna make you see
There’s nobody else here
No one like me.
I’m special, so special.
I got to have some of your attention, give it to me!

Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) is going make them notice, all right. And she’s going to use all her wiles, because she’ll need them. She’s gotten involved in a sophisticated crime gang that steals valuable works of art. But just what is her level of involvement? Ah, that’s all part of the deception game. The poor schmucks around her hardly know what’s going on half the time, and that includes the viewers. It’s all about the lovely Elizabeth, and her ploys.
She’s a full-time hypnotist/therapist, who works with people with repressed memories, either from abuse or concussion or some form of trauma. She also knows how to tap into hidden fears and secret desires, which is dangerous information in the hands of the unscrupulous. She’s working with a gang member, Simon (James McAvoy) who got conked on the side of the head and can’t remember where he put the purloined masterpiece. So Elizabeth Lamb, the wolf in sheep’s clothing, is going to hypnotize him, except the rest of the gang members don’t trust him, so they have him wired, which she notices, so she just makes a deal with them, also. For a cut of the take.
Meanwhile, she decides that in this particular case, personal attraction combines with professional curiosity to create a breach of ethics. Yes, she knows that’s called “transference,” but she doesn’t mind using whatever assets she has at her disposal to crack this case.
As viewers, we have to work hard to maintain suspension of disbelief, as we are trundled back and forth between dream and reality, between naked desire and wish fulfillment, and oh yes, some vital information is withheld from us, as well. That’s supposed to make us feel like the tough-guy foolish male characters, who are themselves pursuing blind alleys and fed misinformation. We are also called upon to fall under the spell of this beautiful enchantress, and some, of course, will be more enthralled than others.
Yes, that particular song by “The Pretenders” seems to be especially appropriate here. And how ironic is it that part of the plot turns on the main character having brass in his pocket?
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving, Texas