Trespass (2011)

(spoilers ahead)

Trespass is a movie you can only call ludicrous. It starts out like a standard home invasion thriller and then somehow never gets anywhere. Basically every minute of this movie feels like it could be anywhere, making it hard to remember any chronology of the movie. Some gangsters enter the house of a family (Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman) to get something and it goes back and forth forever without anything actually happening. There is a lot of threatening and gun waving and lots and lots of shouting, but for most of the time this group stays in the same room to argue. At first it is an okay movie, but it becomes annoying and boring pretty fast. It’s good not to think of the talent involved in this, not about Joel Schumacher, Kidman and even Cage. The basic problem is probably the screenplay, because it is so full of twists and turns and doesn’t notice that this stops being exciting at some point. Watching this movie, it's no surprise to read about its problematic production, in which Cage decided to switch roles between being the hero and a villain for a while.

The women in this movie don’t fare very well. I mean, all the men act stupid at times too, but mostly they are the ones who have tricks up their sleeves and long-term plans. The women, though mostly react impulsively and sometimes extremely stupid. There are only three women of notice: Sarah (Nicole Kidman), the wife and mother, Avery (Liana Liberato), their teenage daughter, and Petal (Jordana Spiro), a drug addict who is part of the invaders.

Sarah is a frustrated housewife. There doesn’t seem to be anything she really does but sit at home, wait for her husband and be more frustrated when he doesn’t care about her. Still, she tries and tries, never really gets angry at him or their teenage daughter. She has the possibility for an affair but doesn’t take it (which turns out to be a good choice, considering the guy turns out to be part of the gang and bi-polar; yes, the movie doesn’t go for small drama). During the invasion, she makes some small attempts at fleeing or tricking them, but for most of the movie she sits in some corner and looks scared. It makes you wonder how she was convinced to do this movie because she has no agenda and is extremely passive. All she does is act seductively so that her husband can use the opportunity, even in the end when he is bleeding to death (and should be dead already), she stays weak and waits for him to rescue her.

Avery, the daughter is a strange mixture of annoying teenage girl and responsible daughter. She fights with her parents over a party, sneaks out but when a boy there wants to do drugs and sex with her, she immediately leaves and goes back home. What exactly were her plans for the party in the first place? Couldn’t she just go downstairs and have some fun? Well, once she is home and realizes something is wrong, she acts stupid, like extremely stupid. She hears screaming from her parents and starts shouting their names, so that the gangsters know she’s there. She is unable to escape from them several times. At one point (try to follow me), she is allowed to leave, but one gangster slips his watch into her pocket, turns on a timer so that he can find her outside once the watch starts beeping. It’s a stupid plan to begin with but since she is even more stupid, it works because she stands there with the beeping watch in her hands until the gangster finds her. She doesn’t turn it off or throw it away. But then she is able to take out one of the gangsters, but of course only the women of the gang by using the good old trick of crashing the car against something because the woman didn’t use her seatbelt.

Petal, the drug addict and stripper, is the unreliable one right from the start, or at least she is supposed to be. She takes off her mask soon, goes through Sarah’s clothes and watches her family videos. And she smokes crack of course, sitting in their bedroom with a baby doll on the bed for no apparent reason. All of her scenes are full of mother-child-symbolism, which is very stereotypical and never really addressed. She plays no important role for the plot at all, just adding more confusion and annoyance to an already confusing and annoying movie. The only reason for her to exist is so that one of the gangsters has a motivation because he somehow seems to be in love with her.

Don’t get me wrong, the men are all screwed up too, they lie and betray each other, but they are all active in some way, while the women are almost completely passive. The last shot of the movie (before it fades out, as it seems, by accident before the movie feels over) shows Nicolas Cage holding his two women, who cling to his chest as if he’s their savior. No matter that he brought them into all of this trouble, lied to them and endangered them. But being a man excuses anything in this world, while the women are victimized. Just look at the poster, or any of the posters, which all show Kidman clinging to Cage in the tropy way we see it on posters all the time. Here, the movie doesn't offer anything else.