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Review: Trespass (2011), starring Nicolas Cage

Trespass (2011), starring Nicolas Cage
09.23.2011by: Chris Bumbray
5 10

PLOT: A diamond broker (Nicolas Cage) and his wife (Nicole Kidman) are held captive in their sprawling estate by a gang of thugs, who are convinced that the couple is hiding $200,000 in stones. Knowing they'll be killed if they cooperate, the couple tries to hold out- but when their teenage daughter (Liana Liberato) returns to the house, they have to act quickly to save her life.

REVIEW: The addition of TRESPASS to the Toronto International Film Festival lineup, as a Gala presentation no less, seemed an unusual move for the prestigious fest, with the film already slated to make it's DVD/Blu-ray debut on November 1st, making this essentially DTV fare. Sure enough, DVD is exactly where TRESPASS belongs, as it's a truly routine, B-grade thriller, that offers nothing you haven't seen done better in films like PANIC ROOM.

Famously, Nicolas Cage walked off the set of this film last year- and having seen the finished product, I can see why, as it pales even alongside some of his recent, less inspiring work. If he's going to make the comeback many of us are pulling for, TRESPASS is exactly the type of disposable fare he needs to skip.

It's doubly tragic that TRESPASS co-stars the once great Nicole Kidman, who last came to TIFF with the excellent RABBIT HOLE. What a difference a year makes, but I wonder if the filmmakers involved might have thought TRESPASS could have ended up as more than DVD fare. It's directed by Joel Schumacher. Make fun of him all you like for his bad BATMAN films, he's also directed some great ones, like THE LOST BOYS, FALLING DOWN, and TIGERLAND. Heck, I'm one of the two people who even liked THE NUMBER 23, but this seems to be Schumacher just phoning it in.

Put Cage, Kidman, and Schumacher together in a vehicle that's clearly below them, and you have a film that's about as much fun to watch as your average TV thriller. In the eighty-five minute run-time, virtually nothing happens that you won't see coming a mile away. Gee, think ignored housewife Kidman might have a past relationship with hunky criminal Cam Gigandet? Hmmm, is Cage's daughter going to return home early from her party? Hey, why is the female robber constantly stripping down to her lingerie? Oh wait, isn't she an ex-stripper? Oh OK, nevermind.

Like Schumacher; Kidman and Cage phone it in, although Cage at least tries to give his character a little quirkiness, with him speaking (sometimes) in a nasal-sounding voice that sounded like something he had left over from PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED. Considering he spends the vast majority of the film getting beaten up, Cage probably would have been a lot better in the villainous role, which is played here by Ben Mendelsohn, who made a splash last year in ANIMAL KINGDOM. Mendelsohn does his best to make his bad-guy interesting, but predictably it pales greatly compared to his turn in that Aussie masterpiece. Oh well, a guy's gotta eat.

Bad as I'm making it sound, TRESPASS really isn't an awful film. It's just mediocre, and it could even make a passable watch on satellite (where this will be more at home) on a quiet night. Still, it's very sad to see two great actors, and an occasionally solid director like Schumacher reduced to this Millennium Films cheapie. Hopefully it's a one off.

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