“Trespass” (2011)

MOVIE REVIEW: “Trespass” stars Nicolas Cage (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, Left Behind [2014]), Nicole Kidman (Far and Away [1992], The Others [2001]), Liana Liberato (If I Stay, The Best of Me), Cam Gigandet (Twilight [2008], Never Back Down), Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Dark Knight Rises), Jordana Spiro (My Boys [TV series], Ozark [TV series]), and Dash Mihok (Silver Linings Playbook, Romeo + Juliet). It is directed by Joel Schumacher (The Lost Boys, The Phantom of the Opera [2004]) and written by Karl Gajdusek (Oblivion, The King’s Man).

When a rich businessman (Cage) and his family are taken hostage by a gang of thieves looking for their safe, secrets are revealed.

Initially, I intended to hold another actor’s marathon focusing on Nicolas Cage. Perusing Walmart, I found a DVD of four of his films, and thought to myself that it’d be a good idea, given how “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” was releasing to cinemas (and I am incredibly hype for it). However, these films aren’t necessarily his most well-known, and with “Unbearable Weight” having already released, I settled on analzying these movies as their own entities, while at the same time celebrating the insanity that is Nic Cage (and trust me, a review for “Unbearable Weight” will arrive at some point).

I have to level with you all… “Trespass” isn’t actually bad. Sure, it’s not the greatest film out there, but it surprised me. With performances that are serviceable, a story that is entertaining (to a degree), and good cinematography, I found it to not be a complete waste of my time to see. Go figure. What shocked me even more was seeing Joel Schumacher’s name pop up as the director in the credits. Apparently, this was the final film he ever helmed before passing away, and all I can say is, I’m glad he didn’t make another slip like “Batman and Robin” for his swan song.

“Trespass” tiptoes the line of being a theatrical and direct-to-video feature. There are elements in it that carry more weight than that of a home video flick, though it is clearly evident that the filmmakers could’ve shapen things up more. A family whose secrets are revealed in a home robbery is an interesting concept; one that I can get behind. But the execution of things left more to be desired. Flashbacks are shown in a mirage-like fashion, and are meant to give misdirection to the audience in order to slowly peel back the layers of truth to this family. It’s different, but the things revealed are fairly predictable (aside from the end result of Kidman’s supposed affair). Also, dialogue tends to repeat, as these robbers continually argue with Nic Cage to open his safe for the better part of an hour, circling around the same conversational points. It can get haphazard and feel lazy, though with the low expectations I had for this, I wasn’t all that appalled by it.

The performances are ultimately what carry this movie. Nicolas Cage is entertaining, as he always is, but don’t expect him to be unhinged. For the most part, he is reserved. I never found him over-doing it (except for a few moments toward the end), and actually considered this a finely-acted part. Seeing that he would act alongside Nicole Kidman piqued my curiosity, and I found their chemistry to work well. Aside from her kissing him, that is. No offense to Cage, but with a girl like Kidman, I didn’t really buy into their “love.” And neither did the script, as their marriage was certainly in question. Amongst the robbers was a guy I recognized, only to find out that he played a lot of bad guys moving forward in his career: Ben Mendelsohn. If you need someone villaneous, he does a good job, and I enjoyed his role in this film.

This is a rather small-scale story, which I liked. Everything took place inside a beautiful house, and the filmmakers did a solid job shooting it. I wish I saw it in higher definition to better judge the cinematography, but I recognized its professionalism even through standard DVD rate. There’s nothing jarringly horrendous about this movie… it just doesn’t captivate as much as it thinks it does. I didn’t find myself on the edge of my seat, nor did I think the story was carried out flawlessly. It’s good that it is a short and simple experience, but there were ideas that didn’t land as well (particularly the obsession of that one repairman over Kidman) and ultimately threw the narrative off.

If you enjoy Nicolas Cage, you’ll like “Trespass.” It’s entertaining, harmless, and is well-produced in regards to how it looks. The story leaves more to be desired and certain elements weren’t executed properly, but Schumacher and his team held my interest for the most part. And with low expectations going in, that’s something to commend. FINAL SCORE: 68%= Burnt Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

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