Joel Schumacher continues his career-long habit of hits and misses with a home invasion suspense thriller that marks yet another dip. Knowing that the filmmaker responsible for such cinematic achievements as "Falling Down" and "Tigerland" also spat out the ill-conceived "8MM" and the truly awful "The Number 23," allows you to set your expectations appropriately. Kyle Miller (Nicolas Cage) is a diamond seller living with his trophy wife Sarah (Nicole Kidman) and their socially active teenage daughter Avery (played by the ever-captivating Liana Liberato) in their gated mansion. This family isn’t merely wealthy; they’re filthy rich.
Kyle wheels –and deals on the phone as he steers his Porsche into the gate of his remote suburban family home. Cage plays his unattractive character with all the sliminess he can muster. Designed by Sarah, the house is a study in outsized modernist minimalism. It comes equipped with a complex security system manned by a 24-hour company. There’s marital tension between the spouses. Kyle is a secretive guy. Avery is in a rebellious snit, pissed off that she isn't allowed to go to a party with her ostensibly slutty best friend. Needless to say, our elitist family doesn’t win much audience empathy sequestered in their mansion bunker.
For a man obsessed with security, Kyle falls for the ol' cop-impersonation ploy pretty easily. Our pack of cash-hungry masked thugs are laden with enough back-story to fill up their own B-movie. Team leader Elias (Ben Mendelsohn) knows about Kyle’s wall safe. Much time is spent intimidating Kyle to get him to open a box whose contents aren’t exactly what the thieves expected to find. Kyle sweats profusely but keeps a poker face as he stalls for time in circular negotiations that set up flashbacks about the intruders. There’s a possibility that Sarah not only knows one of the crooks, but she may be carrying on an adulterous affair with him.
As a par-for-the-course suspense thriller “Trespass” is a marginal addition to an often hackneyed genre. As an audience you could do worse, but you could obviously do much better.
Rated R. 85 mins. (C) (Two Stars - out of five/no halves)
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