Joel Schumacher's been having a hard time lately. His movies mostly end up on the bottom of the pile, ranging from mediocre ("Twelve" and "Blood Creek") to downright abismal ("Number 23"). In the last ten years he's kind of lost his way, drifting far away from his better works, like "Tigerland", "Phone Booth', "Veronica Guerin", or "Falling Down" (way back in the early nineties). And did you know that he was the guy behind the cult classic "The Lost Boys" ? It's hard to imagine that Schumacher was once a relevant filmmaker once you come across a movie like "Trespass".
This stand off occupies the entire movie, each side trying to find a way to solve their problems by applying all kinds of leverage. Secrets jump out like popcorn in a microwave as the screenwriter tries to cram as many twists as possible in the movie's short running time (85 min). In the process, Nicolas Cage endures a lot beatings, broken bones and gets shot a couple of times, but he's somehow still able to function. The script also tries to humanize the villains, adding backstory and motivation through the use of pointless flashbacks that appear at a time when the movie didn't really need it.
It all feels gimmicky. The plot twists seem to work as an excuse to over-complicate a very simple formula in order to pass it off as a superior thriller. And at the end, when it seemed like the movie might actually show some guts and attempt a dark finale, it pulls off a Hollywood last-minute save that rescues a main character from certain death. For almost 90 minutes, the filmmakers try to make us think we're watching something gritty, then it trips over a feel-good happy ending.
"Trespass" is a severe disappointment. It has the makings of a decent home invasion thriller, but it stubbornly tries to trip up its own formula with silly plot mechanics and total disregard for its characters. It had the potential to rival "Panic Room", but I suppose Schumacher should have been ready to sink the movie in some really dark places before it could even think of taking on Fincher's thriller. As it is, it's nothing you should see in a hurry and I only recommend it if you have some spare time and nothing else to do or watch.