Movies

‘Trance’ movie review: A half-baked attempt, despite a sensational Fahadh Faasil

Anwar Rasheed's film is a tale of two halves, that loses its plot in trying to be a commentary on everything from depression to drug addiction

The irony of spiritual leaders who preach a ‘higher’ life, free from worldly pleasures, while revelling in a high flying life complete with private islands and supercars themselves, is often lost on their legion of followers. Entranced by their shallow preachings, targeted at the myriad vulnerabilities of the listeners, many blindly fall into the trap.

Trance, directed by Anwar Rasheed, is about the careful corporate strategies that goes into the making of one such god figure — Pastor Joshua Carlton (Fahadh Faasil), an atheist who happens to be full of vulnerabilities, that are exploited by two shadowy businessmen (Gautham Menon and Chemban Vinod). Before being catapulted into the spotlight in this new avatar, the Pastor used to be Viju Prasad, an aspiring motivational speaker struggling to make his way up, even while coping with personal tragedies.

Beyond the surface, the film is also about his mental journey, which oscillates from emotional troughs to drug-induced highs and to manic extremes, similar to what the Pastor’s naive followers are often caught in. At some points, the atheist Pastor seems to be himself convinced about his healing powers.

Trance
  • Direction: Anwar Rasheed
  • Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Nazriya Nazim, Dileesh Pothen, Gautham Menon

The first half of the film, which captures this transformation is gripping, owing much to Fahadh’s performance, which convinces even the otherwise sceptic viewer who looks down upon such charlatans, to partly root for him. The film attains its high by the interval point, almost having the viewer in a trance. That moment was pregnant with possibilities, enough to hold the audience in a rapture till the end.

Unfortunately, from there, the script goes downhill. One gets to see the writer taking the easy way out at crucial points, bumping off-key characters in a tame manner and depending on the usual television newsbreaks to untangle tricky situations. It was almost as if after more than two hours of slowly building the foundation, of creating a spiritual empire from scratch, they did not know how to end it, so evident in the rushed climax.

It loses its plot in trying to say too many things: on everything from mental depression to drug addiction. Though juxtaposing all this opens the doors to some more intriguing possibilities, it only serves to drag down the plot here. The long sequences of faith-healing also looses its charm in the latter parts. The Pastor’s sequences with his new secretary Esther Lopez (Nazriya Nazim) only adds to the runtime.

Trance might still manage to ruffle quite a lot of feathers across various religious cults among their wide fanbase, but as a serious critique of corporate spirituality and as a piece of cinema, it is a half-baked attempt. Having experienced its potency at half-bake, one can only wonder what they would have achieved with a little more patience and ingenuity.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 10:49:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/trance-movie-review-a-half-baked-attempt-despite-a-sensational-fahadh-faasil/article30873400.ece

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