Movie Review: Trespass (2011)


Trespass review

Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman in Trespass
Photo: Nu Image/Millenium Films

To tell you Trespass is terrible feels a bit disingenuous. On the one hand it’s much worse than that, but on the other it could be looked at as being so bad it’s brilliant. I guess it’s best to say it’s all a matter of perspective, but I can definitely imagine watching this trash again with a group of friends, having a few beers and loving every minute of it. But you can rest assured I will never watch this mess on my own ever again.

Billed as a home invasion thriller, Trespass begins with Kyle Miller (Nicolas Cage) on his way home to his palatial estate, wheeling and dealing as he drives, trying to do whatever he can to sell some diamonds as we get the impression this is a salesman on his last desperate leg.

At home it’s a warm reception from his wife Sarah (Nicole Kidman), but he gives her the cold shoulder as she’s in the middle of telling their teenage daughter (Liana Liberato) she can’t go to a party that night. Kyle stands by his wife’s decision, not allowing their spoiled daughter to play the two against one another, but then shuts the door on the situation, closing himself in his office, giving little impression he’s at all interested in his family’s affairs.

Soon, domestic issues are put into perspective when a gang of thugs bust in, waving guns around, demanding the contents of Kyle’s office safe. They have an intimate knowledge of the house and the family’s comings and goings leading the audience to believe there’s more to the story than meets the eye, but as much as you’d like to think this evolves into a taut thriller, it actually devolves into a parody of a thriller as Kyle attempts to threaten and bluff his way out of the scenario, yelling at the intruders with wide-eyed intensity. No, you never believe anything he’s saying, but his expressions and hot-blooded displays of emotion are a sight to behold.

Taking into account the B-movie treatment of the material, Trespass is too cliche and too over the top for it to take itself so seriously. The intruders, led by Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom) and joined by Cam Gigandet (“The O.C.”), Dash Mihok and Jordana Spiro are comedy hour. Mendelsohn is too intense for words, Mihok is the dull brute force in the corner, Gigandet is meant to be the mysterious piece of the puzzle and Spiro spends most of her time upstairs doing a little heroin and dressing up in Sarah’s clothes. It’s a madhouse, and it’s ridiculously repetitive.

What’s the combination? I’m not giving it to you! What’s the combination? You can’t fence them anyway! What’s the combination? There’s nothing in there! What’s the combination? Go to hell! If you don’t give me the combination I’ll kill your wife! No you won’t because then I’ll never open it… [Thinking, thinking, thinking–] What’s the combination? Open the safe! And it just goes on and on while a behind-the-scenes melodrama plays itself out to an ending you simply won’t believe they spent this much time setting up.

However, like I said, this is excellent fodder for an at-home “Mystery Science Theater” evening. Wait until it’s on Blu-ray and DVD (which, by the way, it will be, two weeks after its limited theatrical run), invite some friends over, have a couple beers and let the fun begin. It’s one of those “it’s so bad it’s good kind of films,” but, of course, only under the right circumstances.

Director Joel Schumacher‘s career has spiraled downward in recent years. Looking over his filmography I actually see several films of his I quite like — The Lost Boys, Falling Down and A Time to Kill are personal favorites of mine. How his career has turned into making what essentially is direct-to-DVD, bargain bin features is beyond me, but at least this one should hold some at home value for anyone looking to laugh at a bad movie.