"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