Aug 27, 2014

Review: Trapped (2002)

Trapped is an abduction thriller with child actor extraordinaire Dakota Fanning playing the main target. With Charlize Theron and Irishman Stuart Townsend rounding out the family, you can just imagine the discussions they had at Sony trying to figure out what actors to cast to appeal to parents and get them to come out to see their movie in theatres. The characters are all beautiful, they're very rich and they live in a beautiful home. How could anyone not identify with them?

The story is based off of a novel called 24 Hours written by Greg Iles who even wrote the script for this film. Maybe the book isn't as guilty of this, but everything in Trapped feels contrived and ironed over by Sony. A thriller's number one goal is to be, well thrilling obviously. Not that feeling contrived is the only problem of Trapped, but it's a major one that kept me from being able to dive head first into the story.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Genre: crime, drama, thriller
Directed by: Luis Mandoki
Produced by: Mimi Polk Gitlin, Luis Mandoki, Glen Ballard, etc.
Written by: Greg Iles
Music by: John Ottman
Running time: 106 minutes
Production company: Columbia Pictures, Mandolin Entertainment, Propaganda Films, etc.
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, Central Partnership, etc.
Country: United States, Germany
Language: English
Budget: $30,000,000
Box office: $13,414,416 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Charlize Theron, Kevin Bacon, Courtney Love, Stuart Townsend, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Dakota Fanning, Steve Rankin, Garry Chalk, Jodie Markell, Matt Koby, Gerry Becker, Andrew Airlie, Randi Lynne, Colleen Camp, J.B. Bivens, John Scott, Gregory Bennett, Jim Filippone

_______________________________________________________________________________III

Synopsis 


Karen Jennings (Charlize Theron) arrives home with her daughter Abby (Dakota Fanning) after saying goodbye to her husband (Stuart Townsend), a research physician who has to go to a conference. While in separate rooms, Abby gets abducted by Joe Hickey (Kevin Bacon) and Marvin (Pruitt Taylor Vince). Not hearing anything, Karen gets the surprise of her life when she is confronted by Joe. He explains that he's done this before and he's of course expecting a payment. Karen will just have to follow the rules or she'll never see her daughter again. 

 

Review


After the abduction of Abby, the story develops into three on-going stories following the Jennings family. I suppose it's not a bad way to do things but it opens up the floor to more potential problems. Certain events seem to convenient and unbelievable, especially when it comes to a trio of kidnappers who have done this sort of thing more than once. (Spoilers) The prime example I can give is when Abby is able to escape out of the cabin she's in because the door isn't locked. I know that old Marv isn't all there but still. Kids have a habit of running around and leaving a door open just seems like too much of a loose end to me. (End Spoilers)

The camera in Trapped is like a kid with ADHD. It never seems to be able to stop moving in its quest to simulate tension and suspense. I get what Luis Mandoki was going for but it's way overdone and takes away from what's going on. The film's climax is also horribly done for how choppy the editing is. Thinking back now, even the way in which the film's opening is captured is completely indecipherable because of the camera and the dumb blue filter that's used. There's a lot that's wrong with the cinematography in Trapped. Also, something that really got on my nerves was John Ottman's score. It was incredibly distracting and sounded like the remnants of some slasher film soundtrack.

Performances aren't too bad however. Charlize fits the role well enough but Kevin Bacon doesn't quite get as imposing as he could be. If this were an R-film or something like that I'm sure he could've had more of an impact but that's not the audience Sony is going for here anyhow. It's a shame because I'm sure Bacon could've been on a good show. Dakota Fanning plays her usual cute girl role and Courtney Love, well is kind of awkward to watch truth be told. At the moment, Trapped was her last big acting role.

Trapped is not a good thriller because simply put, you won't feel like you're on the edge of your seat. It doesn't succeed in what it set out to do and there's a whole lot wrong from a production point of view. Trapped also feels just like a mass-marketed product which also contributes to its failings at being a good thriller. Audiences looked like they made the right decision, Trapped ended up bombing. It's perfectly watchable sure, but in no way should you believe that Trapped will get your heart rate up, even if you're the parent of a child or two.

Rating


5.5/10