Trapped

"Weak"

Trapped Review


Apparently not wanting to call attention to the fact that it's releasing a emotionally exploitive child abduction B-movie thriller at a time when AMBER Alerts are being issued almost weekly, Warner Bros. sneaked "Trapped" into theaters this weekend without holding any advance screenings.

This practice is usually reserved for pictures the studios are embarrassed to have made at all ("Pluto Nash," anyone?). "Trapped" isn't as bad as all that, but it is a film that has to get stupid -- really stupid -- in order to resolve its plot.

A rehash of Mel Gibson's "Ransom" with younger, prettier parents fighting back against their child's kidnappers, the film stars the luscious Charlize Theron ("Sweet November") and darkly charming Stuart Townsend ("Queen of the Damned") as a rich, happy young couple with a lakefront, Architectural Digest home but without much credibility as parents to a pretty 6-year-old daughter (Dakota Fanning, "I Am Sam").

Kevin Bacon (in cocky scumbag mode), ex-rocker Courtney Love (in one-step-above cue card mode) and Pruitt Taylor Vince (in "Duh, George is my friend" mode) play semi-professional kidnappers with an allegedly foolproof plan -- Bacon and Love each babysit one parent in separate locations until the ransom is paid while Vince holds the kid to a remote cabin in the woods, waiting for the call to let her go.

But these abductors start giving away their highly-telegraphed weaknesses the moment the little girl is snatched from her bedroom while Daddy's away giving speeches at medical conventions about a new drug he's invented (it's a super-sedative that causes temporary paralysis -- you think that will come into play?).

Bacon starts slobbering all over Theron, practically inviting her to turn the tables by pretending to be aroused -- and when the movie gets lurid, it gets abrasive and dull-witted. Love takes a bath and a nap while supposedly keeping an eye on Townsend in his hotel room, providing more than enough opportunity for the good doctor to empty her gun's clip and ready himself a syringe of his sedative.

And Vince ("S1m0ne," "Nurse Betty" is just one of those unstable, simpleton lackeys with a nervous tic that movie bad guys always align themselves with for no good reason. He expresses misgivings about his role in all this from the get-go, and when Fanning starts bawling for her mommy, he smacks himself on the head obsessively and wails, "I don't like it when little girls cry!"

It's hard to believe these jokers are supposed to have pulled off four similar kidnappings before.

Director Luis Mandoki ("Angel Eyes") maintains the movie's tension from start to finish, thanks largely to the performances of the menacing Bacon, who really turns on the smarm, and the emotionally resourceful Theron, who eventually musters enough maternal fear and tears to turn the corner of parental credibility. But in making her character sharp enough to out-wit her captor, the film fails again and again because each time she takes the upper hand (which she does several times), she has to relinquish it in increasingly foolish and contrived ways to keep the plot from resolving too quickly.

"Trapped" (which was adapted by Greg Iles from his novel "24 Hours") begins to unravel when the kidnappers reveal an ulterior, personal motive for the kidnapping that punches huge holes in the plot. This begins a domino effect, and the film completely falls apart in the convoluted, far-fetched last act, which includes one villain's oh-so-convenient change of heart, an airplane chase stunt sequence and an absurd climax in which hundreds of witnesses stand around doing nothing while central characters fight for their lives.

Had Iles and Mandoki put a little logical elbow grease into solving these silly problems, "Trapped" might have made for a solid thriller. Instead the film turns out to have more unforeseen problems than Bacon's "perfect" crime.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th September 2002

Box Office USA: $6.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $6.9M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Colombia Pictures, Senator Film Produktion, Propaganda Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 18%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 46

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Karen Jennings, as Joe Hickey, as Cheryl Hickey, as William "Will" Jennings, as Abigal "Abby" Jennings, as Marvin, as Joan Evans, as Hank Ferris, Garry Chalk as Agent Chalmers, as Mary McDill, Matt Koby as Peter McDill, Gerry Becker as Dr. Stein, Andrew Airlie as Holden, Randi Lynne as Hotel Operator, J.B. Bivens as Gray Davidson

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.