Inside a damaged mind

What is Danny Boyle up to? After the innovative brilliance of Frankenstein on stage and the London Olympics’ opening extravaganza, he dives into dodgy waters with a movie that looks like Vertigo on speed.

What begins conventionally enough, with a botched art heist, ends in total confusion, having raced through amnesia, hypnotherapy, torture and dreamscapes. The surprise is the degree of violence and the wasted role of Vincent Cassel’s sadistic gangster.

James McAvoy does well to remain standing. He is bashed on the head at the start, after which he can’t remember who’s who and what’s what. Worse, he can’t remember where the stolen painting has been stashed.

It would be unfair to criticise Boyle for pretentious overindulgence. He’s too good a director for that. Brain damage has always been a dangerous area for film. Like visualising an acid trip, loosening the ropes on reality leads to chaos.