Posted by: playingthedevil | November 7, 2011

trespass (2011)

nicolas cage drives somewhat angrily closer to the edge of direct-to-video purgatory in trespass, this time with the help with not only nu image/millennium films but also joel schumacher. so those of you waiting for that 8mm reunion are in luck. ironically, i like 8mm as much as i like an actual snuff film.

and for those of you who don’t know me, no i don’t like snuff films. i can’t even watch torture porn or most horror movies.

speaking of horror, nicole kidman is also in this (the only movie i thought she’s good in was eyes wide shut), so it’s also a batman forever reunion as well. i didn’t exactly hate batman forever but don’t really see the need for a schumacher/kidman reunion. though yes, i would say a schumacher/kidman reunion is a more pleasant thought than snuff films.

in case you can’t tell by the title, trespass is yet another home invasion type movie. crooks pretend to be police officiers/security guards and enter a rich man’s family mansion because they need a macguffin and cage’s home/family seems to have it. of course, things and people are not supposedly what they seem.

the best thing in the movie is definitely the opening sequence, in which we get the fast/loud talking cage we know and love. sure, it’s been done in other movies but in a movie like trespass, you take pleasure wherever you can find. i also like how unlike panic room or firewall, the family members aren’t merely victims but actually seem to do more than the typical male hero. not the wife played by kidman but the daughter played by liana liberato, who’s in the internet predator movie trust directed by ross from friends co-starring clive owen and catherine keener, coincidentally also by nu image/millennium films.

things go downhill quickly as it went on, and it’s only a 91 minute movie. assuming you’re an idiot, the movie not only implies that cage and kidman are not in a happy marriage, they also have a daughter to tell us that they are not happily married and things may not be what they seem.

in the midst of preparing for an upcoming feature, i should love trespass in theory. it takes place mostly in one setting and it stars nicolas cage. but somehow schumacher manages to fuck that up. the first two acts of the movie contains mostly scenes of people threatening and pointing guns at other characters. we are led to think that rich nerd cage is able to outsmart the crooks by talking his way out of situations, while the crooks are not who they seem to be. neither are as clever as the movie requires them to be.

in smarter home invasion movie type situations, both the hero and the crooks are in a cat and mouse/one upmanship game to not only surprise the audience but also each other. the “ruses” in trespass does not achieve that. trespass is more like a tease on the audience where it makes you think that something clever is coming up but it’s actually on the mercy of a script on autopilot. it feels less like a pulpy genre film than a case where some not too creative people were told about the home invasion genre and this is the best of what they came up with, without having seen any of the films. described as a psychological thriller, trespass lacks thrills, suspense, action, schemes, and three days after watching it, i’m still waiting for the psychological part to kick in.

while i buy the cage character is supposed to be smart and able to talk his way out of any situations, it’s harder to be convinced that the group of crooks has any purpose or goal, other than the fact that a movie like this needs villains. they first want diamonds, then money, then…i’m falling asleep just thinking about it. and their motives? i don’t know if schumacher thought that he’s doing the usual suspects but the purpose of the numerous (unnecessary) flashbacks seem to be tricking the audience instead of serving the audience and the film as a whole.

this may not be fair as a criticism of the movie but it illustrates the way the filmmakers think: while the rich family is of that of a “traditional” nuclear family, the financially poor crooks involve stripper girlfriend, drug deals, alcoholism, drug addiction, and childhood abuse. considering all the social movements happening at the moment, do you really have to go to that length to contrast the rich and the poor? there’s a woman amongst the group of crooks, the above mentioned stripper, and SHE SMOKES POT! omg!

it may have been crack. but i don’t really know the difference. all i know is it’s drug in pipe. no one has a lucky crack pipe in this one though.

before i put myself (and you) to sleep, there are some interesting things about trespass. but none of them have to do with the movie itself.

nu image/millennium films used to be the purveyor of direct-to-video movies starring former movie stars. though lately they’ve been getting enough money to attact name directors and stars. in addition to dolph, van damme and seagal, they somehow managed to squeeze out enough resource for theatrical releases from brian de palma, werner herzog, al pacino, robert de niro, bruce willis, michael douglas, samuel l. jackson, edward norton, and jason statham. they are also responsible for the expendables. much has been made about the fact that trespass is so bad that it is practically direct-to-video but: it was likely that it was released theatrically to fulfill some contract; and it’s better than a lot of direct-to-video releases; and direct-to-video doesn’t have the same negative stigma it used to have.

there’s always a kind of unwarranted expectation when it comes to a new nicolas cage movie. the movie can be good (leaving las vegas, face/off, the rock, con air, adaptation, the weather man, bad lieutenant port of call new orleans), bad (trapped in paradise, gone in sixty seconds, the family man, national treasure 2), or unintentionally funny (deadfall, the wicker man 2006). trespass falls into the worst kind of nic cage movies, the ones that end up in the middle where most movies reside, the mediocre. don’t let anyone tell you different, trespass is neither trashy entertainment nor unintentionally funny. there are a few cage moments but they are not mega. he acts appropriately considering he’s the one character in the movie who endures the most physical punishment.

there seems to be a perverse interest in hairline in nic cage movie. so for those of you non-film fans, here’s a picture and you can judge it yourself.

i can kind of see in real life cage’s interest in partaking in this movie. i suppose i could crack jokes about how the crooks should be able to find his house easily by simply looking for a pyramid. it was shot in port of call new orleans where cage resides. and trespass is about a seemingly rich (or famous) guy who’s actually not that rich (irs) who would risk his life for his family. i am confused about how the mega cage could say that he’s genuinely in tune with schumacher’s taste and movies. it’s like if joe strummer, or a ramone, or johnny rotten declares the punk-ness of avril lavigne. it just doesn’t make sense. trespass is the worst kind of bad nic cage movies, it’s neither good, interesting nor interestingly bad. it’s the starbucks/tim allen/adult contemporary top-40 “rock” of movies, the very definition of mediocrity.

and that brings us to schumacher, whose picture should be next to the word mediocrity in the dictionary. a lot of people seem to hate him, probably over his murder of the batman franchise (hell hath no fury like fanboys scorned. by the way, where are the bryan singer backlash?). as a non-picture book reader, i thought batman forever was perfectly mediocre. st. elmo’s fire, cousins, falling down, and phone booth are pretty good (could have been better directed by someone with more of a personality). i hated a time to kill more than i did batman and robin, it’s less offensive as opposed to mere boredom in batman and robin (there are unintentional humor there but not enough). i haven’t seen the lost boys, flatliners, tigerland, bad company, or veronica guerin, all of which has its fans. and my girlfriend likes the number 23. i hated 8mm because of its nonchalant attitude towards its grave subject and the lack of nic cage moments (although some find them). written by andrew kevin walker, who also wrote se7en, it probably would have been a better movie if it was directed by david fincher. in short, he’s just like every other workman-like hollywood director. i haven’t been keeping track but he’s worse than brett ratner right?

trespass, like most schumacher movies, feels more like a wasted opportunity than a truly bad movie.





2/4 cages



  1. I think I’m gonna wait for cable for this one; although I have a burning need to see every Nic Cage flick ever made. Did you ever see Birdy with Nic and Matthew Modine? He spends half the movie with his face bandaged up and still manages to get Mega; although it’s a much subtler version of Mega since it was early in his career.

    Oh, and I actually like 8MM, if only for the scene where Cage finds the girl’s killer and calls her mom and asks for permission to kill him. That scene was ballsy.

    • i do have that same need, which explains why i saw 8mm in theatres. i haven’t seen it since so i don’t remember much about it. other than being bored by a mystery/thriller/noir about snuff films. and i keep thinking any other directors could have turned it into a more interesting movie. the same thing i was thinking watching opie’s ransom. “wouldn’t this movie be better if the coens or brian de palma directed it?”

  2. I think Ransom is a perfectly good popcorn thriller but Gibson’s performance elevates it considerably.

  3. it’s good but i always feel like it’s ron howard trying to show that he can do dark, and other filmmakers, perhaps an auteur, seems more suitable to the material.


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