“Trespass” is the latest film from experienced director Joel Schumacher, who delivered the barely-seen but barely-watchable “Twelve” just last year. Instead of using young actors that usually play high school or college kids this time around, Schumacher manages to snag two A-listers in the form of Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman. On top of that, throw Ben Mendelsohn on the pile. Mendelsohn played one of last year’s truly evil villains in “Animal Kingdom”, and Liana Liberato just took home a silver Hugo at last year’s Chicago International Film Festival. With such a stacked acting deck, how does the film manage to be so boring?
From the very opening shot, “Trespass” seriously feels like it might as well be a direct-to-video effort. Kyle Miller(Cage) is on the phone, and his voice over ruins the opening shot of his car cruising along the secluded country road toward his mansion. He’s wheeling and dealing, and his conversation is written as such: it feels like it’s written for a movie character big shot, and lacks authenticity. His wife(Kidman) makes the extra effort to get his attention, even purchasing new lingerie, but Kyle is too consumed in his work. When people dressed as security guards break into the Miller home, it is just the tip of the implausibility iceberg. Why would somebody from a security company ever show up at the front gate and pose the question of how many people are inside the house?
“Trespass” makes some interesting turns, but then it keeps making them-over and over again. The way the film keeps offering surprise after surprise is almost satirical. Of course, the intruders are there for a robbery, but their true motives aren’t set in stone until the running time is nearly up. The screenplay by Karl Gajdusek pulls twist after twist until the plot is just going in circles. Ironically, while most of the film takes place within the Miller home, the most interesting moments occur outside of the house with Avery(Liberato), the Millers’ daughter. But these are just fleeting glimmers of hope in a blah exercise that just requires Nicolas Cage to do a lot of begging and yell the f-word. It takes a whole lot of effort to put Nicolas Cage in a film and make him boring, even in a bad movie. Mr. Schumacher, that is a whole lot of the wrong effort.
“Trespass” is available On Demand with most cable providers right now. It played at the AMC 30 theater in South Barrington, IL for one week before quickly disappearing.