Trespass Review

The latest offering from director Joel Schumacher, starring Oscar-winners Nic Cage and Nicole Kidman…

Fun fact for you: Trespass now holds the record for the quickest cinema-to-DVD-release in history with just 18 days passed between its US release and its home video debut. Beating From Justin to Kelly, a rom-com starring Kelly Clarkson which, if you follow IMDb, will notice it is ranked in the bottom 100 movies of all time. Trespass will probably not join such “prestigious” competition and find its way onto that list anytime soon, but it definitely deserves a place in the top echelons of 2011’s worst movies.

It’s the story of Kyle Miller (Cage), a cocky, talk-the-talk wheeler dealer, whose penchant diamond dealing has left him up to his ridiculously large glasses in debt, debt that he has hidden from his wife Claire (Kidman) and their daughter Avery (Liberto) for a while now, even as they continue to splurge on designer clothes, or in Avery’s case, rebel and sneak out to parties. Miller is trying desperately to scrape some money together while he charms prospective clients on the phone, all the while oblivious to the changing attitudes of his family. Then, wouldn’t you know it, their luxury house is raided by a group of thugs (led by Mendelshon and Gigandet), who believe that Kyle has diamonds stashed in his private safe, and have come for their payday.

So far so obvious. And, just like the proverbial “paint by numbers”, the obviousness begins to emerge at pace: the thieves are nothing more than a bunch of nitwits, turning on one another rather than seeking the allusive loot; Gigandet’s Jonah confesses his love for Claire (he helped install their alarm system, apparent sparks flew) while she screams bloody murder every couple of minutes; while Kyle tries using his “brilliant” negotiations to deter and delay them. It’s loud, crude and misguided, and any thrills that may have existed are so poorly handled, the film borders on comedic rather than thrilling.

It’s everything we have come to expect from a post Falling Down / The Lost Boys Joel Schumacher venture, with those two efforts seemingly looking even more like luck rather than judgement. His lifeless and dreary direction, coupled with a script from Karl Gajdusek that with the over-use of flashbacks deprives the movie of cohesion and tempo, borders on the comedic, and carries all the hallmarks of Schumacher’s “opus” Batman and Robin: it’s overlong (even at 91 minutes), overstuffed with terrible set-pieces and incoherent characters, and acted just as poorly by all involved. It’s even got some nipples, with at least two sets on show at points here. Sadly, none are Kidman’s, as at least that would have been the slightest bit interesting.

As for Kidman and Cage, on paper the pair-up here seems like a great duo, but both drift aimlessly through proceedings (counting the pennies from what must have been a hefty payday no doubt), giving a pair of lifeless, static performances that are up their with the worst of their careers (Bangkok Dangerous and Bewitched to name but two). If there is any saving grace in the movie, it’s young Liberato, who despite wrestling with the redundant and hideously predictable role of spoilt and rebellious daughter, shows some flashes of quality here, and adds another string to her bow after her excellent debut in David Schwimmer’s Trust.

Under a different director and cast, this may well have had some legs to it, but as it stands, Trespass is dull, tedious and predictable right from the off, and despite the tantalising draw of Cage and Kidman together, even they don’t have the power to save this from lining the bargain bins in the coming months.

The Disc

Despite the poorness of the film, the DVD transfer stands up pretty well against it. Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the presentation is very sound. The picture is crisp and fluid throughout, with colours vivid, and show off the work of famed DoP Andrzej Bartkowiak really crisply. The only downside is that a chunk of the film takes place outside at night, and during those scenes, the darker colours become a little overbearing, and do make it a little hard to make out the images as the film progresses, but nothing that should harm your viewing of the whole movie.

The soundtrack too is well presented, here in Dolby Digital 5.1. Gun shots blast, screams penetrate and the fight scenes are as bombastic as you would expect, but are never over bearing when it comes to the subtler scenes, as everyone in the cast is realised well, from Cage’s husky tones to Kidman’s more piercing overtones. The score too, from David Buckley is excellent, and never overpowers the images on screen, and plays well throughout.

The only extra here is a conversation with director Joel Schumacher, which is a soundbite internview taken from a promo interview recorded seemingly for YouTube. It’s a laborious 15 minutes of questions and answers, with Schumacher unsure whether to address his answers to the interviewer or the camera, creating a very awkward atmosphere throughout. There is quite a lot of information on the film here, but nothing that is going to peak your interest at all.

Scott Davis

Updated: Mar 28, 2012

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