Trespass (2011) - Can't Stop the Movies
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Trespass (2011)

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I'd like to say that the criminals are interrupting a happy marriage, but that would make Trespass boring, which it most certainly fights to avoid.

I am very sad the world is not quite ready to forgive Joel Schumacher for his past film-making sins.  Understand, it's not he's one of the better directors in the world, but in terms of delivering over-the-top stylized trash he ranks among the best.  If his work is not quite as lurid and pulpy as someone like Craig Brewer than it's a testament to Schumacher's abilities as a director to sneak in the really subversive stuff underneath all the gently gliding camera movements.

None of this is to say Trespass is a film I'm going to be bringing up in casual conversation months from now.  But it deserves to be respected, in a sense, for providing exactly what it sets out to do with a minimum of fat and a whole lot of scenery chewing.  Toss in a legitimately unhinged Nicolas Cage performance on top of its weird forays into family dynamics and you, bare minimum, have quite the fun little piece of forgettable celluloid on display.

This is one of those "my home is a fortress" films that's immediately (and depending on how you respond, stupidly) broken into about 20 minutes into the film.  Prior to the disruption we bare witness to the crumbling marriage of Kyle (Nicolas Cage) and Sarah (Nicole Kidman) Miller.  He's a workaholic, she's a housewife, and they both ignore the wishes of their daughter, Petal (Jordana Spiro), a bit too much.

Bug eyed and crazy, just the way I like my Cage.

So they bicker, Sarah looks at lingerie we know she won't be seen in because she's played by Kidman and Schumacher hasn't won an Oscar, Kyle simmers to a fine boil because he's played by Cage and crazy is what he does, while Petal flits off to the side as potential for a disturbing sex object because Spiro is still shaking off residue from her amazing performance in Trust.

The dynamic is predictably boring until the robbers come breaking into their home.  Rather than the traditional cat and mouse game of violence and hiding, Kyle and Sarah utilize a weapon the criminals weren't anticipating - their growing hatred for each other.  Taking some cues from the dark Denis Leary/Kevin Spacey comedy The Ref, the warring spouses use their ill-will towards each other to spurn the thieves against each other.

The potential for an interesting dynamic is there and Schumacher, along with screenwriters Eli Richbourg and Karl Gajdusek, play with it using the robbers.  There's a separate married couple in their group, much happier but with a woman who is trying desperately to get off of drugs, and her boyfriend who just wants to have a kid with her.  The "successful" traditional family dynamic is ruined with a child and the "unsuccessful" non-traditional one is kept together for the hope of a child.  I've long suggested media is moving towards the presentation of a non-traditional family structure as being the preferred one, but this is one of the few films I've seen the idea laid out so directly.

Kidman continues to sap the authenticity of anything around her, even if it's trying to be nihilistic trash.

All subtext aside, the movie is just zippy, angry fun to watch.  Cage is an absolute blast to watch after seeing him sleepwalk through movies he shouldn't have (Drive Angry and The Sorcerer's Apprentice for two), but watching him angrily tell off the robbers by pointing out how useless his wife's life is funny with a rare nihilistic tinge.  Kidman, unfortunately, is a bit of a wet blanket on everything but is counteracted by Cage's insanity and the multiple layers on unhinged personalities on display with the criminals.

I want to envision a universe where, instead of working with Woody Allen, Schumacher spent the 70's doing unholy amounts of drugs with the collective of Scorsese, Coppola and Spielberg.  But so long as it means he's making entertaining trash just subversive enough, I'll remain a Schumacher apologist until he really does something unforgivable.  Until then, keep hitting the celluloid Schumacher, I'll be right down in the dirt with you.

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Trespass (2011)

Directed by Joel Schumacher.
Screenplay by Eli Richbourg and Karl Gajdusek.
Starring Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman.

Posted by Andrew

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. You actually convinced me to watch this later on down the road. All I knew about was how much it bombed at the box office. I do love me some crazy Cage. I haven’t given a shit about Kidman since she got all weird-looking.

  2. can’t wait to watch this. hopefully some time this week.

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