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Blu-ray Review: Trespass (2011)

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As I sat watching Trespass, I could not help but feel like I have seen this before. I felt as if I had seen stories very similar to this before. I swear this same type of tale has been spun before on the big screen in better fashion. What it came down to is that my experience could be likened to a series of cloudy memories to other movies that I enjoyed more. In a way it made Trespass all the more enjoyable, and this is one movie that can use whatever it can get. This home invasion flick relies on familiarity, constantly moving pieces, and little thought. If you just go along with it you will be much better off. Actually, put it on as background noise while you do whatever; drift in and out of the narrative and you may have a good time.

Trespass had a brief theatrical run before debuting on VOD, which seems to be turning into a much more viable distribution method. We are moving into a new era and new distribution models are appearing. It gives hope of finding an audience to movies like this, featuring big name stars, a recognizable director, and a tale that seems to exist solely to provide paychecks to those involved. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad movies, but they are a notch or two below big theatrical releases (well, that might be debatable).

Kyle Miller (Nicolas Cage) is a diamond broker who spends a lot of time away from his family. Kyle’s wife is named Sarah (Nicole Kidman); she is distant, yet desperate for attention. The couple of a rebellious (aren’t they all?) teen daughter, Avery (Liana Liberato). They are the victims of an invasion by a a group led by Elias and Jonah (Ben Mendelsohn and Cam Gigandet). They are intent on getting a cache of diamonds and money they believe Kyle to be in possession of.

What follows are a lot of seemingly empty threats, a lot of yelling, a touch of fisticuffs, more threats, more yelling, and repeat. We get a subplot involving Jonah and Sarah, some infighting among the invaders, as they really don’t get along, and a suddenly very tight family unit among the troubled Millers.

Trespass offers nothing new. The home invasion plot is a tried and true one that rarely offers any true surprises and only manufactured suspense (outside of Funny Games, anyway). What sells this movie are the performances and the look; not that any of it is all that great, but there are certain aspects that I liked.

To be sure, the story isn’t awful, it is just predictable and all too familiar. It is let down by the writing which does not make any of the characters to be all that smart and substitutes screaming for genuine thrills. I do like the look given it by Joel Schumacher (yes, the same of Batman Forever and Batman and Robin). He gives it a lot of color, which is opposite the trend I have noticed of going gritty and washed out. I liked the brightness of the colors, perhaps because I was looking somewhere for some sort of life.

The performances also offer a certain amount of over the top fun, particularly for you Cage fans (or haters, as the case may be). Nicolas Cage is not a bad actor, but he has certainly given his share of bad performances, and a bunch of so bad their good performances. I happen to believe that this is one of the latter. He has this nasally quality to his voice. I guess to make him seem a bit more nerdish, and he has a few moments where he just takes it right over the top into loony-ville. You’ll know them when you see them. Nicole Kidman has her share of silly moments, but she is there more for a plot point. On the bad guy side of the coin, Ben Mendelsohn seems to love chewing the scenery and having fun with it. Sadly, not all of the performers are on point, for better or loony, there are some that grate, mostly Jordana Spiro as Petal (girlfriend to Elias). She is just annoying.

Audio/Video. The movie is presented in 2.4:1 ratio and generally looks pretty solid. It is not a perfect looking transfer; at times the colors I liked so much seemed to be a bit overblown at the expense of detail, however, other moments have great detail. This high detail is mostly evident in close ups. Other times, usually during action, the colors become more dominant and detail slips. Still, it is never distractingly so and the end result is a movie that looks pretty good. There are no noticeable digital issues or artifacts.

The audio is presented in Dolby True-HD 5.1 and does the job. There is some decent surround activity with people moving around the house and such, the occasional loud noise or gunshot. It is not the most active or immersive of tracks, but it provides crisp and clear dialogue, which is the most important part.

Extras. There is a single extra on the disk, a featurette called Trespass: Inside the Thriller. It is a typical EPK style piece that barely reaches 5-minutes. It features interviews with cast and crew along with some clips from the movie. It doesn’t really offer much insight and is not really worth the time.

Bottomline. Not so great a film, but there are certain charms to be found in its familiarity and in the over the top screaming matches various combinations of characters get into. Still, this is one that can safely be skipped. If you are into the home invasions, I would recommend Hostage.

Not Recommended.

 

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