Trespass: Released in theaters, but feels like straight to video

Trespass – 2011

Directed by Joel Schumacher
Starring Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Cam Giganet, Jordana Spiro, Ben Mendelsohn, Liana Liberato, Dash Mihok, Nico Tortorella, Emily Meade
Screenplay by Eli Richbourg, Karl Gajdusek

The most interesting fact about Trespass is not the teaming of Cage, Kidman and Schumacher.  This is not an artistic high point for any of the three.  The incredible thing about this film is that it came out on DVD a mere 18 days after being released in theaters.  For this reason, many people including the reviewer have no memory of it ever being released.  Sure, a lot on independent films are available online the day that they are released, but this did not seem entirely planned.

What we have here is decent actors, a director whose career littered with successes and failures both interesting (Falling Down, The Client, Phone Booth) and not (the bad Batman filmsSt. Elmo’s FireDying Young, Flatliners) and a script that plays like it was pounded out over a weekend for payment of a four pack of Monster Energy drinks and a Costco sized bag of Doritos.

Nic Cage is Kyle Miller, a man on the edge of his financial rope.  Starting off on the way back to his opulent home in his opulent car, he’s barking into a cell phone, desperate to make a deal.  His wife, Sara (Kidman) is having one of those mother / daughter fights that they have in movies like this.  Of course the daughter, Avery (Liberato) is going to get nothing in the way of support from the father, but then the wife isn’t happy either.  What we need, of course, is a hostage situation to sort everything out.

The jumble of dialogue and shifting motives in the ensuing hour and change is enough for the viewer to want everyone to die.  It’s a shame, too, because there is at least are some interesting actors like Mendelsohn (excellent in Animal Kingdom) lost in the mix.  Instead of tension, we have annoyance.  Instead of action, we have lumbering.  Instead of acting, we have shouting.  Instead of astounding revelations, we have a feeling on inevitability.  There apparently was a dearth of hostage films in the last decade, compared to the seeming one a month that released in the 80’s and 90’s), so someone thought the market had opened up for well below average effort.

Just once, I would like to see a movie where people get taken hostage, and the hostage takers don’t say a word while cleaning house and leaving everyone tied up and broke.  Instead, what we get here, like in so many other films of the kind, is a race to who can lose their composure first.  One thing I have discovered in watching this movie is that nail guns have a surprisingly good range.  A better range, indeed, than Cam Giganet’s acting ability.

(* out of *****)

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