A Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman thriller, directed by Joel Schumacher should be the type of high concept film that opens a box-office weekend.  However, that’s not the case when the film is Trespass, Mr. Schumacher’s cinematic riff on the home invasion genre (done best, of course, with the 1955 Humphrey Bogart feature The Desperate Hours).

Since Trespass received a scant theatrical release (it also hit VOD during its October 14th theatrical debut), one assumes the result is a creative train wreck.  At a digestible 90 minutes, that’s far from the truth, especially if you keep your expectations at a moderately low level.

As Kyle, a married businessman with a specialty in diamonds, Nicolas Cage has the meatiest role, and the destructive (and scenery chewing) game of chess between him and the lead thief (Ben Mendelsohn, the terrifying villain from Animal Kingdom) elevate Trespass from a once perceived narrative abyss.

Nicole Kidman is Kyle’s wife Sarah, a woman just isn’t on the same page with her hubby or her rebellious daughter (Liana Liberato who, as in her work in Trust, gets put through the ringer).  When their wealthy abode is crashed by several crooks (including Twilight’s Cam Gigandet and Dash Mihok), the family does whatever it takes to survive the night.

In the five minute featurette (Trespass: Inside The Thriller), Schumacher briefly talked about the “cross-currents” of secrets and lies within the family and the thieves, and that’s another interest aspect of the film.  Shooting a picture mainly inside a house (the picture was shot in Shreveport, Louisiana) must have been a welcome challenge for Schumacher, as well as his desire to reunite with Cage (8 MM) and Kidman (Batman Forever).

When armed with pulpy material, it behooves filmmakers to push a perceived sub standard genre on a visual level.  David Fincher was up to the task with his own home invasion film, Panic RoomRoman Polanski’s claustrophobic touch is felt in such thrillers as Repulsion and The ApartmentSchumacher, who has directed his share of first rate work (Tigerland, Falling Down, Phone Booth), is on visual auto-pilot with this outing.

Based on the requisite twists that come with the story and the action sequences, Trespass is definitely watchable.  If seeing Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage get beaten and bullied for an hour and a half is your cup of tea, then you need a therapist.  Until then, Trespass, should fit the bill.

Trespass: Rated R, 90 minutes. Sound: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround.  Special features: Five minute featurette which contains interviews with Schumacher, Cage, Liberato, Mendelsohn, Gigandet, and Kidman. The film comes in DVD and Blu-ray versions.  A Blu-ray & DVD combo pack also includes a free digital copy.

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posted by Greg Srisavasdi