Trapped: A Promising Thriller with Insubstantial Intensity
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Some of the most inspiring movies are those that tell the story of a great survivor. The human spirit shines unabashedly when pitted against all odds and it is quite a sight to see a survivor walk free out of a storm with his head held high. This is why Life of Pi and 127 Hours went on to become such unforgettable films.
Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped is also the story of a survivor. But in this premise brimming with potential, the screenplay oscillates between blood-pumping intensity and shallow sequences.
Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao) is just your average Joe. In his efforts to win over the love of his life Noori (Geetanjali Thapa) he shifts base from a bachelor pad to an unoccupied, high-rise apartment that comes with a catch. Soon after he begins to move in, he gets trapped inside the almost empty apartment with his key stuck on the wrong side of the door. Left with a mobile that runs out of battery and no one is hindsight to reach out to; Trapped follows Shaurya and his attempts at surviving this hellscape.
The misfortune that Shaurya meets with can happen to anyone of us. That is why the premise Trapped is set on has huge potential to create tension. Sadly, barring a few great sequences, the film’s shallow parts fail to engage you in its supposedly gripping tale.
As the reality of his situation slowly sinks in, Shaurya goes to great lengths to get out of the apartment. Even as he kicks and screams his lungs out, you don’t take him seriously for quite a while. The intensity of his problems dawn on you only in the second half. This is where Motwane’s translation from script to screen proves to be insubstantial in many parts.
We see the physical trauma Shaurya goes through but what goes missing is an insight into the eccentricity of his emotional state. In one scene, he pours his heart out to a rodent, his only companion for days. In another scene, he is overtaken by hallucinations. A few more of such sequences would have given a window for the audiences to empathize with him. But due to the lightweight treatment, we end up being a mere spectator.
One of the reasons why this lack of intensity is disappointing is because Motwane is capable of many more jaw-dropping sequences. Taking his previous work as an example, he has the capabilities to immerse you deeply in the central character’s emotional state. But just like Shaurya’s emotional state, Motwane’s potential too is left unexplored in many places.
Rajkummar Rao is a terrific performer. One can undoubtedly say that he plays the role of a harrowing survivor so impeccably, but because of the shallow writing, his potential to emote isn’t fully tapped into. His screams are heard, but they aren’t deafening. We see him shed tears, but we aren’t made to feel his sorrow. If he were informed to portray eccentricity with a lot more intensity, he would have come out shining.
Nonetheless, Trapped has its great moments too. The abstract narrative that shows you how loneliness can be felt in a crowded world too is quite touching. The untouched realism in the narrative is impressive. The character’s basic instincts and the manner in which Motwane establishes their fears are very realistically handled.
Overall, Trapped is a thriller that oscillates between incredible realism and insubstantial intensity. Just for its decent share of great sequences, this is a film you should not miss.