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Trapped
2002 - R - 105 Mins.
Director: Luis Mandoki
Producer: Luis Mandoki, Mimi Polk Gitlin
Written By: Greg Iles
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Stuart Townsend, Charlize Theron, Courtney Love, Dakota Fanning, Pruitt Taylor Vince
Review by: Joe Rickey
   

Love hurts
A mother finds her life ripped away from her when maniacal criminals hold her husband and daughter hostage. She decides that it’s time for her to fight back against the criminals when the police are found to be not of much help at all. Trapped stars Charlize Theron, Courtney Love, Kevin Bacon, and Stuart Townsend. The film is directed by Luis Mandoki (Angel Eyes) and based on the novel 24 Hours by Greg Iles, who also wrote the screenplay. A neat little factoid: he wrote the screenplay before he wrote the novel. He had hoped to sell the idea based off the screenplay alone but there were no takers. Therefore, he took the screenplay and developed a novel around it. What do you know? After the novel sold quite well, studios jumped at the chance to develop it into a film. The film also underwent a title change from 24 Hours because of the similarity with the television show 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland.

What would you do if your only child and the love of your life were taken away from you? That is the question posed to audiences that find themselves watching Trapped, yet another Hollywood thriller. The film could have taken the potentially intriguing questions that come up when discussing the dilemma forefront in the film and incorporated them into an entertaining and thought-provoking piece of entertainment. Unfortunately, yet predictably, director Luis Mandoki and the writers of the script instead decide to take the idea and produce another formulaic thriller for mass consumption filled with glamorous yet familiar action set pieces and torture scenes nowhere as graphic as those seen in the recent Fear Dot Com. The film also proceeds in a by-the-numbers fashion with an ending that will be seen miles away by anyone who has seen a thriller in the last ten years. The film doesn’t take any chances and therefore resigns itself to mediocrity.

The performances are also of the mediocre ilk. Theron plays the type of role usually assigned to Ashley Judd and does her best with it but can’t overcome the clichéd script. Courtney Love suffers the same fate in her role as Bacon’s partner in crime. As for Bacon himself, he fares the best out of the cast because he is obviously relishing playing an unhinged yet intelligent criminal. As for Townsend, he is stuck in a role even more basic and thinly written than Theron’s and can’t do much to rise above it.

Direction by Luis Mandoki is sub par at best. He directs with too much of a heavy hand and smacks each point home with little subtlety. The thing that Mandoki handles well are the action scenes, which he valiantly attempts to differentiate from other films by the use of filters and jittery camera movements. Mandoki also moves the film along at a quick enough pace that you can’t complain of boredom.

Overall though, Trapped ends up so much like other thrillers and misses a grand opportunity to raise the film above mediocrity because it never bothers to bring up the consequences and social paradoxes that inhabit the setup.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

 
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