Review: Cage, Kidman’s ‘Trespass’ a Sadistic Trifle

Think “Panic Room” or “Cape Fear” and then lower your expectations

 

Here’s hoping that stars Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage have their Best Actor Oscars tightly clutched in their hands when forced to watch “Trespass.”

They will need the golden reminder that they’ve done better work and appeared in more engaging and challenging films than this putrefying piece of genre junk. 

“Trespass” is a sadistic trifle of a home invasion movie. Think “Panic Room” or “Cape Fear” and then lower your expectations exponentially.

Cage plays Kyle Miller, a seemingly wealthy businessman who drives in his fancy car through the imposing security gates to his sprawling, modern mansion.

He heads almost immediately for his home office. There’s clearly unresolved tension between him and Sarah (Kidman), his attractive stay-at-home wife, who wanders idly from room to room in the house and forbids Avery, their pouty teenage daughter, from going to a party.

It’s just as the couple has discovered that Avery has snuck out anyway that a gang of armed robbers, four masked men and a woman, enter the house and take the couple hostage. At gunpoint, their leader (Ben Mendelsohn) demands that Kyle open his safe. Kyle refuses and an extended game of deadly brinksmanship begins between the Millers and the criminals.

Can Kyle and Sarah overcome the deceptions and gaping cracks in their marriage to survive and outwit the robbers? Why is the hunky younger brother (Cam Gigandet) of the crew leader making calf eyes and looking so longingly at Sarah? And what will happen when the teenage daughter returns home?

For this kind of tricky suspense thriller to work, it needs to suck viewers completely into its hermetic world and have them breathlessly believing in every twist and turn. Instead, we keep wondering why Cage looks so sallow and why Kidman thought there were possibilities to these roles.

Rather than making an elegant thriller, director Joel Schumacher (“The Phantom of the Opera”) offers up a schlocky 90 minutes (it seems much longer while watching) of laughable nonsense. Much of the blame belongs to first-time screenwriter Karl Gajdusek, whose script is simultaneously convoluted and overheated and becomes ever more ridiculous as it progresses.

Somewhere buried deep within “Trespass,” there’s actually a half-amusing satire about materialism and living above one’s means. But you’d have to be an egghead pursuing your doctorate in film studies to care enough, or search hard enough, to find it amidst the murk.