by Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
Those two performers looking humiliated (and well they should) because they’re adrift in this résumé-scorching claptrap just happen to be Oscar winners.
Perhaps Nicolas Cage (best actor in Leaving Las Vegas) starring in the dreadful domestic thriller, Trespass, may not be all that much of a surprise. After all, he’s been appearing in what seems like one turkey after another for what seems like the last decade.
But Nicole Kidman (best actress in The Hours)?!
Anyway, this bottom-feeding home invasion thriller sports a sadistic streak as wide as an airplane hangar and operates throughout at the very top of its thoroughly objectionable lungs.
Cage and Kidman play upscale marrieds living in a secluded, custom-built, seemingly secure mansion somewhere in Louisiana with their teenage daughter (Liana Liberato). Mister is a workaholic diamond broker, Missus a neglected architect.
Their marriage is shaky, to say the least.
When three masked thugs gain entrance by impersonating cops investigating recent burglaries in the neighborhood and take them hostage, demanding that Cage open his elaborate wall safe and extract the fortune in diamonds that they know he has, the family is in deep, life-threatening trouble.
But he refuses, rightly alluding to the fact that once he opens said safe, he’s lost his only bargaining chip and he and his loved ones, having gotten a pretty good look at the interlopers, will end up dead.
Cage’s screaming protagonist attempts to use his sales skills to negotiate his way out of the nightmare he’s in, but neither the actor nor his scripted strategies ring true, not for a second.
Cage, who looks as if he’d rather be playing the villain (and reportedly requested switching roles at some point during production) barks out his lines as if volume alone will make them resonate and attempts to crowbar quirky line readings into the generic material to little or no effect.
Meanwhile, Kidman waltzes through a part she knows she shouldn’t have signed on for, hoping for it to be over and done with as quickly as possible. But sadly, the 90-minute movie runs about an hour and a half too long.
Veteran director Joel Schumacher (Batman Forever, Phone Booth, The Phantom of the Opera, The Number 23), who has worked with both of his leads before, keeps the decibel level high, the editing frenetic, and the action overheated, but none of his defensive maneuvers can disguise the trashiness of the material.
The high-tech manse they live in and that the movie is set in proves far more interesting than any of the film’s characters, relationships, occurrences, or revelations.
Besides, why should we root for the victims when the movie spends so much of its time focusing on the behavior of the villains? And who cares about the backstories of the violent burglars, who are, the last time we checked, still violent burglars?
Yes, the script by Karl Gajdusek does offer a few twists, but they come at the expense of any kind of narrative credibility.
Many of the most ludicrous lines of dialogue would be unintentionally hilarious if the whole enterprise weren’t so distasteful. And even if the dialogue were worth listening to or remembering, the effect would be muted beyond usefulness because at no time do the characters stop yelling at each other.
Ten times as unpleasant and headache-inducing and offputting as it is entertaining and dramatic and insightful, Trespass fancies itself (and a delusion it most certainly is) a psychological crime drama. But it’s merely a home invasion thriller, no better and perhaps worse than any other lowest-common-denominator home invasion thriller.
So we’ll invade 1 star out of 4. The pointless and disposable Trespass is a glorified thriller with neither glory nor thrills.