'Trespass' is the sort of home invasion thriller that accomplishes what it sets out to do by being an edge-of-your-seat entertainment. Then again, how difficult is it really to move from point A to point B, as long as the script is wary of the trivial pitfalls it manufactures along the way. Throw in a few hurdles and sudden, unexpected twists on the road while maneuvering around them safely and smoothly, hoping the audience will be forgiving for being such a tiresome and long-winded journey. And by the end of this predictable but tolerable dreck (does that counts as at least one compliment?), you do feel somewhat exasperated by the incessant yelling and bickering on screen.
A better question to ask of this bumpy and ultimately unnecessary ride is at what cost? A thought which strangely enough runs through a viewer's mind as Nicolas Cage continuously tries to stupidly outsmart the criminals breaking into his luxury home. If there's anything remotely worthy of a flattering remark, it is in Cage's performance of a diamond dealer playing a foolish game of who's got the better leverage. It is ninety frustrating minutes of criminals screaming to let into Cage's high-tech vault while he repeatedly gambles his family's life by screaming in return with a panicky "No!" The concept remains intriguing until about the middle of the second act, and afterwards, it's a maddening display that eventually has audiences yelling for someone to be shot already.
In the middle of this chaotic thriller, Cage is believable enough to have us angered at him for his idiotic stubbornness. Best of all, he's not caught in yet another embarrassing exhibition of rage-induced screeching and overacting — the type which seems to infest YouTube on a seemingly regular basis (NSFW). Instead, he plays things fairly straightforward and slightly reserved because the strain of his predicament appears to wear him thin. And Cage is quite good in this role. Nicole Kidman plays his equally traumatized wife, but she often seems to be in the way, especially during her character's subplot where we question her fidelity. Their daughter (Liana Liberato) and the extortionists (Cam Gigandet, Ben Mendelsohn, Jordana Spiro and Dash Mihok) do their parts dutifully according to a prescribed plot while giving way to let Cage come out on top.
Joel Schumacher reins in this dog and pony show with a lack of suspense and even less interest to see the final outcome. This is not only due to the narrative's overwhelming predictability, but also to Schumacher revisiting the same, routine approach to the thriller genre. His style worked decently well in the late eighties and throughout the nineties — even in his John Grisham and Batman phase — but anything since 'Phone Booth' is a generic take on some rather generic material. And 'Trespass' is unfortunately no different, basically because the jig is up a quarter into the story. The marriage is on the rocks and the daughter is a rebellious brat. Secrets and uncomfortable betrayals will become commonplace in order for the family to confront their problems, which in due course also reunites them.
In the end, the script is the biggest offender by being a derivative mess and a hugely uninventive imitation of a hackneyed formula. Making his feature-length debut after several episodes writing for 'Dead Like Me,' Karl Gajdusek wrote the screenplay, with some alterations by Eli Richbourg, and makes no attempt to break new ground. It's content instead with pretty much duplicating everything that's been done in other home invasion movies. We can almost imagine Gajdusek giddy with joy as he conceived the numerous plot twists, which pop up at the oddest moments and are far-too conveniently designed purely to achieve a weak, emotionless climax. The only clever thing about this uneventful schlock is in seeing every single character at one point or other have a loaded gun pointed at them. And even that is a roll-your-eyes moment of the totally lame.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Millennium Entertainment releases 'Trespass' unto Blu-ray as a Region A locked, BD25 disc, inside a normal blue keepcase. At startup, we're greeted by an assortment of skippable trailers for other movies in the studio's catalog. Afterwards, we have the usual selection of main menu options with full-motion clips and music playing in the background.
Invading the world of high definition video with some class and style is this great-looking 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode of 'Trespass.'
Presented in a 2.40:1 window frame, the transfer is terrifically detailed with sharply defined lines in both foreground and background objects. Film grain is super fine but visible in a few, small instances while the rest of the picture reveals natural textures in the faces of actors during close-ups. The color palette is intentionally warm with more emphasis on the secondary hues, but primaries remain bold and clean in every scene. Contrast is spot-on and superbly balanced, providing a bright, crisp cinematic image throughout. Black levels are accurately rendered and intense for the most part, but it's not always constant with a couple sequences showing a slight dip in quality and appearing a bit murky.
Overall, the movie looks great on Blu-ray.
Joel Schumacher's mild thriller also arrives with an admirable though nothing remarkable Dolby TrueHD soundtrack.
Vocals are very well-prioritized in the center of the screen, delivering Cage's every word with resounding clarity. The rest of the front soundstage displays strong channel separation with convincing off-screen effects. Imaging feels expansive and welcoming, often quite engaging and exciting so as not to lose viewers altogether. Dynamic range exhibits a clean distinction between the highs and mids, but the design itself never really pushes the limits, focused almost entirely on the conversation of characters. In fact, the low-end is rather anemic and doesn't add much to the few action sequences, even those when the shotgun is fired. Rear activity is mostly reserved for the musical score and one or two sporadic moments of discrete sounds.
All in all, the lossless mix is adequate and does its job well. Only, it's nothing special or memorable, especially for an action thriller like this.
Millennium offers this Blu-ray edition of 'Trespass' with a puny selection of supplements.
'Trespass' is the standard home-invasion thriller with nothing new or even exciting to offer the genre. Pretty much everything from the script, Joel Schumacher's direction, and acting is generic and formulaic. About the only feature really worth remarking on is Nicolas Cage's mildly entertaining performance, but even his overacting can't save this exasperating dreck. The Blu-ray arrives with an excellent picture quality and a good audio presentation, but the supplements hardly add anything of value, making the overall package an easy skip.