You probably shouldn’t see this movie. I should have written this a week ago when I saw Trapped, but … I’ve been working and going to school and getting laid off and I hadn’t had the chance until today.

Anyway… Trapped. Starring Charlize Theron, Kevin Bacon, Courtney Love, some other actors, and a cute little girl. The basic story is that Kevin Bacon’s character works with his wife (Courtney Love) and his brother (some guy) to kidnap a series of children, each for 24 hours, and get away with it. Charlize Theron plays the mother of their 5th victim (cute girl). To get away with the kidnapping/extortion, the three kidnappers each kidnap one person; Kevin gets the wife (and usually coerces her into sex), Courtney gets the husband, and the brother gets the kid. They do it while the father is out of town, so that the kidnappers cannot be caught at the exchange of money for child – Courtney accepts the money from the father, the brother leaves the child in a crowded public park, and Kevin drops the mother off near the park when they have the money. A pretty good setup. They threaten that if the police are contacted one of them will come kill the child, so none of the four prior families have fought back or even tried to turn them in. This movie is about the fifth family.

I must say that based on the description so far, you’d think that the kidnappers would be the bad guys you’re supposed to hate, and the family are supposed to be the good guys you cheer for. I really tried. But Charlize’s character and her husband and even the daughter just kept doing stupider and stupider things throughout the course of the 24 hours. The kidnappers, while not entirely making good decisions throughout the movie, had a pretty clever plan and proved that they could followthrough by completing the first four kidnappings without any problems whatsoever. I almost admired them until the end of the movie when they started to get stupid.

Except they still weren’t as stupid as the kidnapees. Charlize understood that if she tried to call the police or fought Kevin or tried to escape that her daughter would be killed. The husband understood that if he didn’t get the money or fought Courtney or tried to contact the authorities that his wife AND daughter would be killed. The cute little girl surely understood that her life was in danger. Yet not one of them could go more than a few minutes without trying to escape, fighting their kidnappers, trying to contact the authorities, or doing other increasingly stupid things. Charlize took a scalpel and tried to cut off Kevin’s genitalia, knowing full well that if he bled to death and didn’t call his brother, or if he got pissed off and called his brother early, or if she did something stupid like threatening him with a very sharp knife, her daughter would die. The husband, knowing that his daughter is in the hands of people who could simply let her die of life-threatening asthma, strangle her, shoot her, rape her, whatever, and more than once he assaulted Courtney and even managed to paralyze her lungs so she nearly suffocated like his daughter could at any moment. The cute little girl pretended to go to the bathroom, stole a cellphone and ran off into the woods in the middle of the night, knowing that things like “running away from a killer”, “being scared for her life” and the like could instigate a lethal asthma attack at any time.

These are just a few examples of the stupidity in Trapped. There are many, many more, including a two-person airplane trying to land on a busy freeway full of speeding traffic and a kidnapee wilfully removing an FBI-placed wire right before vital information is revealed. From very shortly into the movie you will begin to hate the “good guys”, and before the movie is over, you will want to walk out so you don’t have to worry that they’re trying to end up dead or with a dead family member. I recommend that you do not see this movie.

Kevin Bacon does very well for the bulk of the movie, his acting top-notch. Charlize Theron is very convincinly stupid throughout. Courtney Love is just as sleazy as we have all come to expect. Yet it adds up to a very disappointing movie without a single redeeming character. Everyone but the brother does things to endanger the plan or endanger their own lives and the lives of their family, and we can’t like him because at one point when Kevin doesn’t call right on time he actually begins to kill the cute little girl.

Of course, if you want to find characters to hate that are unbelievably stupid coming together in a situation that could have gone a lot smoother than their behaviour allows, go for it. It’s only playing on a few screens though, since it’s such a bad movie.

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