Synopsis: As they’re held for ransom, a husband and wife’s predicament grows more dire amid the discovery of betrayal and deception.
Release Date: October 14, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Trespass is the new film from director Joel Schumacher starring Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman. Kyle is a diamond dealer who frequently brings his work home with him. Unfortunately for the family, a group of armed robbers, led by Ben Mendolsohn (Killer Elite) and Cam Gigandet (Priest), follow both him and his work home and force their way in to the house, wanting the millions of dollars in diamonds that he keeps in a wall safe. What follows is a chess game of cat and mouse, with both sides lying and conniving their way in and out of trouble.
Home invasion movies are scary in a that-could-actually-happen kind of way. The formula has been so successful that it has given birth to a new sub-genre of filmmaking. But, while other home invasion-type films are suspenseful and terrifying, Trespass is just generic. The feeling of helplessness that the characters feel is overshadowed by the unintentional humor that permeates the film. From one character taking Tic-Tacs instead of his psych medications to another character’s suddenly needing a kidney for his mother, the situations in Trespass are ludicrous. The blame is not solely on Schumacher; on the contrary, the technical aspects of the film are very well done. However, a movie is only as good as the script with which it starts, and in that respect, Trespass is dead in the water.
Written by Karl Gajdusek (whose only other writing experience is a few episodes of “Dead Like Me”), Trespass is a one-dimensional script with no arc or subtext. The plot is thin, the situations are predictable and every twist seems more like a cop-out than a clever plot device. The reveals that occur throughout the film feel more like cheap explanations than grand revelations, and none of them provide any answers – they just raise more questions. Techniques like that may work in episodic television, but they fall flat on their face in a feature film.
In addition to the implausible plot, Gajdusek’s characters are cookie-cutter stereotypes — the neglectful husband, the rebellious teenager, the confused villain who has been forced into committing his crime. Their dialogue is boring at its best and downright embarrassing at its worst. Even the talented cast cannot save the silly wordplay in Gajdusek’s screenplay. Cage and Kidman try to sell their roles as seriously as possible, but they can never bring it higher than simple melodrama. Again, these are television writing schemes that do not translate to the big screen.
Trespass was shot by Andrzej Bartkowiak (who shot Speed and Dante’s Peak as well as having worked with Schumacher on Falling Down&), and he does his best to salvage the weak script. The film is shot very well. The photography looks like it was done with handhelds and there is camera motion in almost every shot, bringing an unsettling feeling of tension to the film. Even with the silly dialogue and situations, Bartkowiak’s camera work never lets the viewer completely relax, causing them to invest some emotion in the film. The look of the film is very real (as real as it can be shot in a multi-million dollar hi-tech mansion), and the tight camera angles and slick pan-and-tilts give the audience the feeling that they are right there in the room. Bartkowiak’s experience as an action film director of photography is evident, and his cinematography is a bright spot in an otherwise dim film.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Joel SchumacherDanny DimbortAvi Lerner
- Producer(s): David WinklerIrwin WiknlerKarl Gajdusek
- Screenwriter(s): Nicolas Cage (Kyle Miller)Nicole Kidman (Sarah Miller)Ben Mendelsohn (Elias)
- Story: Liana Liberato (Avery Miller)
- Cast: Cam Gigandet (Jonah)Jordana Spiro (Petal) Bill PankowAndrzej BartkowiakNathan Amondson
- Cinematographer: David Buckley
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA