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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Trapped

Starring: Charlize Theron, Kevin Bacon
Director: Luis Mandoki
Rated: R
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: September 2002
Genre: Suspense

*Also starring: Stuart Townsend, Courtney Love, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Dakota Fanning, Colleen Camp

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

"My name is Joe, and I'm going to help you through this," Kevin Bacon, with a big, devious smile, tells Charlize Theron. Bacon (HOLLOW MAN), who does creepy better than most, is, of course, one of the bad guys in TRAPPED, by director Luis Mandoki (ANGEL EYES and WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN).

Joe Hickey (Bacon), his wife Cheryl (Courtney Love) and his friend Marvin Pool (Pruitt Taylor Vince) have kidnapped Abby Jennings (Dakota Fanning, I AM SAM), the six-year-old daughter of Karen and Will Jennings (Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend). A good, albeit over-plotted thriller with one major twist too many, it is based on Greg Iles's novel ("24 Hours"). A take-off on the perfect crime idea, the plot has Joe and company splitting up, with Joe holding Karen hostage in the Jennings's home, while Cheryl keeps Will in a hotel room and Marvin holds Abby in a remote cottage, deep in the woods. If Joe and Cheryl don't call Marvin every half hour, Marvin will kill Abby. Marvin isn't the smartest tool in the shed -- actually every character makes at least one really stupid mistake -- so he might kill Abby by accident or just because he gets too nervous.

The story has some nice twists, but the best happen in the Jennings's home, where Joe, who has done this four times before, expects sexual favors from the mother if she wants her daughter treated well. The sexual tension between Bacon and Theron has just the right edge. You never know if they are going to end up having have sex or killing each other. By far and away the best scene occurs when a neighbor unexpectedly drops by to borrow something.

The story's low point is its over-the-top ending, when the director figures out a way to spend the remaining portion of the movie's budget. Less would have been more, but the movie's many good parts make its ridiculous elements easily forgivable. Bacon and Theron are well matched antagonists and definitely worth seeing.

TRAPPED runs a fast 1:39. It is rated R for "violence, language and sexual content" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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