What more does one need for a good night out?
Danny Boyle is enjoying something of golden glow at the moment, feted for both the Olympics opening ceremony and a tremendous stage production of Frankenstein within the last couple of years, he has also kept his hand in making films. I heard him say, in one of the many interviews he has given as part of the publicity for his latest release, Trance, that he made the film in London to escape from the tension of being involved with the Olympics. And the film gives a very different picture of London, a rather dystopian one at that.
Part caper, part psychological thriller, Trance, is the story of a fine art heist. In return for the settlement of his gambling debts, James McAvoy’s character, a dealer in an auction house, agrees to be the inside man on a plan to steal a highly prized Goya as it goes under the hammer. The theft goes according to plan, until McAvoy takes a blow to the head and forgets where he has stashed the painting. To make him recall the location of the loot, Vincent Cassel, the gang leader, sends him to a hypnotist, played by Rosario Dawson. And from here, the viewer is sent on a looping track of wondering what is real, what is only in the minds of the protagonists, who is the goody, who the baddie, and who’s in charge.
It’s an intriguing set up, and many of the surprise swerves and switchbacks of the plot kept me guessing and puzzled, and it is filled with the swoop and sway and visceral violence which is such a Danny Boyle trademark, but I never quite felt that the final resolution fully satisfied all the complications along the way, especially as it relied on a fairly long explanation direct to camera by one of the characters to put us all in the picture before the end of the movie. But it is always a pleasure to see James McAvoy, and especially when he can use his natural Scottish accent.
And after the film we went for a curry, starting off with that traditional Scottish dish Pakora (basically deep fried batter made from chick pea flour) . I have no idea if this is served anywhere in India, or why it is so popular in the west of Scotland and virtually unavailable in England. Perhaps it’s because the people who opened the first Indian restaurants in Scotland came from a particular part of the sub continent, or perhaps more likely, if, when they did arrive here, they worked out the Scottish taste for fried things and set about satisfying it.
For me it is a taste from adolescence, from bags of carry out pakora from the local restaurant, eaten on bright summer evenings sitting on a bench on the front overlooking the river with a friend. So if I’m ever in a curry house in Scotland, it simply has to be part of the order…..