Director: Joel Schumacher
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman and Cam Cigandet (‘Twilight’, TV’s ‘The O.C.’)
The worst problems tend to arise when people make assumptions in relationships, and have no interest in solving their problems until their desperation leaves them with no other options. The upcoming psychological thriller ‘Trespass’ aims to prove that families are only pushed to examine their deteriorating relationships when external forces physically put their lives in danger. While director Joel Schumacher succeeds in his mission to prove that all families bond when they’re threatened, the veteran filmmaker disappointingly includes character and plot cliches.
‘Trespass’ follows seemingly happy married couple Sarah (played by Nicole Kidman) and Kyle Miller (portrayed by Nicolas Cage). While the two, on outward appearances, have it all, including wealth, a newly renovated house and a lovely teenage daughter, Avery (played by Liana Liberato), the couple’s strained relationship is really plagued by secrets.
Kyle spends a lot of time away from home as a diamond dealer, and is pretending to be more successful in his career than he really is. While Sara, an architect, is at home overseeing their home’s remodeling, she is supposedly involved in a relationship with one of the contractors, Jonah (portrayed by Cam Gigandet). Sarah and Kyle are also dealing with their rebellious daughter, who won’t listen to a word they say.
The Millers’ luck begins to change when Jonah arrives at their home with his brother Elias (played by Ben Mendelsohn), Elias’ girlfriend Petal (portrayed by Jordana Spiro) and drug and gang enforcer Ty (portrayed by Dash Mihok). Thinking the family is extremely rich, the four demand Kyle gives them all the money and diamonds he keeps in his safe. The robbers vow not to give up, despite Kyle’s reluctance to give in to their demands, as they’re on a desperate mission to get money in order to pay back a drug debt.
‘Trespass’ explores several primal fears that everyone can relate to in their everyday lives. As Schumacher has said, home invasion can happen to anyone; even seemingly perfect, rich families aren’t protected from outside evil forces. Screenwriters Karl Gajadusek and Eli Richbourg were able to make the Millers relatable to all audiences, showing that even well-to-do families have the common fear of being threatened. Kyle didn’t care what Jonah and his accomplices wanted; he was willing to do anything, even die, to protect his wife and daughter.
The psychological thriller also deals with the fear that families aren’t able connect with each other. Kyle and Sarah were so concerned with their own work, and Avery wanted to spend time with her friends instead of her parents, that they weren’t dealing with the reasons why they didn’t want to spend time together. It isn’t until the Millers are attacked that they’re forced to deal with their problems with each other.
While Schumacher touches on important society issues in ‘Trespass,’ the plot-line unfortunately doesn’t live up to several of his previous directorial efforts, including ‘St. Elmo’s Fire,’ ‘The Lost Boys’ and ‘Phone Booth.’ The film uncharacteristically features such thriller cliches as a husband who doesn’t see the errors of his ways until his family’s threatened. Since he’s not a violent man, he uses his skills as a fast talker and knowledge of diamonds to try to stop Jonah and Elias from harming his family.
Jonah, Elias, Petal and Ty don’t see the errors of their ways, however, and remained determined to get the Millers’ money. The four believe the only way they can save themselves from their debt is if they rob Kyle, and have no remorse on using violence on their victims. The robbers have no character development, as they don’t see the errors in their ways.
The esteemed Schumacher deserves credit for depicting modern concerns and fears that plague many American families. Unfortunately, despite expertly showing that family members often don’t relate to each other, or understand each other’s point of views until after a tragedy hits, ‘Trespass’ unfortunately includes all too common thriller cliches. While focusing on the Millers’ struggle to overcome their issues and protect each other, the director should have also made a better effort to make his villains more unique and diverse.
Written by: Karen Benardello