JANUARY 27, 2010
I ordinarily shy away from going too much into my personal life here, but just to give some context, on Monday morning my mom called to let me know the family dog had died (liver cancer - luckily it was detected and they were able to put him to sleep before it spread to his other organs and he began to suffer). And yet, somehow Trunk is still the worst part of my week. See, I knew that Buddy would eventually pass someday (he was 91 in dog years), but I didn’t know that I’d ever see a movie as fucking pointless as this.
(And I should note that I had no major problems with the movies I watched on Monday and Tuesday, so this isn’t some sort of “taking my grief out on the movie” thing.)
The best thing I can say about the movie is that it lives up to its title. 95% of the movie takes place in the car, with the girl in the trunk and her captor driving around the same 3 blocks of Los Angeles (seriously dude - way to not arouse suspicion. Can’t you at least get on the 101 and head north for a bit?). I assumed that it would be like Phone Booth, where there’s some buildup before he gets to the booth, and a few cutaways to concerned parties in their homes or offices or whatever. But nope, in fact, these two are the only two people in the entire movie, which I guess is kind of impressive.
But it’s also one of the reasons that the movie fails so miserably. After ten minutes, you’ve seen just about everything this movie offers. The bad guy (George) has installed a two way speaker so that he and the girl (Megan) can converse, and converse they do - for 80 fucking minutes. They argue, they threaten each other, they have phone sex (seriously), and they psycho-analyze each other. Over and over and over... you could leave the movie for a full hour and come back for the "finale" (for lack of a better word) and not miss a single thing. The only diversion in the entire film is when the car is pulled over by a cop, who we never see and is killed almost instantly by George. A good filmmaker would have realized that his “inventive” “let’s stay in the car” motif wasn’t working for a full length feature, and used the diversion to create a bit of a setpiece here and break up the monotony, (which is already considerable despite not even being half over), but nope. It’s over almost as soon as it begins, and the shooting death of a police officer after he has pulled the guy over (and thus more than likely has called in the plate number) seems to have no effect on George’s ability to drive around the downtown Los Angeles area all night.
The abysmal script doesn’t do either actor any favors either. Or maybe they just can’t act, I dunno. All I know is, their fighting exchanges sound more like two 7 year olds fighting in the schoolyard than grown adults (I kept expecting her to shriek “Cut it ouuuuuuuuuut!” or maybe “I’m TELL-INGGGGGGGGG!”). The psycho-analysis stuff is OK every now and then, but neither character ever fesses up to what is real or not (it’s suggested that he was molested by his father, but he never admits to it. He just yells “Shut up you bitch!” and “I’m gonna fuck you!” and stuff like that over and over). And the not one but TWO “phone sex” scenes are about as ridiculous as you can possibly get.
I was also dumbfounded as to what little attempts Megan makes to free herself. She has a variety of objects at her disposal, but yet it takes her until the end of the movie to finally shut the fuck up and try to use them to escape. She FINALLY disables the two way speaker with her nail file and rigs something to keep the trunk from opening (to make him angrier when he tries to get her out, I guess?), something she should have done over an hour ago. And why does he leave her with all of these things, exactly? Ah, who the fuck knows/cares.
The ending is the ass cherry on the piece of shit cake that is this movie though. She manages to subdue him and lock HIM in the trunk, and she then runs off into the night. We then cut to the next morning; the trunk is open and there are some bloody handprints on the rear bumper. And... credits (over a picture of a SAW - as if we weren’t aware of what film they were trying to emulate with their “two people in one location” setup). Did he free himself? Did she come back and kill him? I guess it doesn’t matter. It feels like a sequel setup, but Jesus christ, they couldn't come up with enough of a story to sustain even half of one movie, can they really be thinking of making a followup?
I can offer it mild praise on the technical level. The Red camera is perfectly suited for this sort of thing, and Weisman and DP Ricardo Gale manage to find multiple angles of the trunk to keep it from getting too monotonous. And I’m not sure about the female top 40 songs that pepper the credits but the score is pretty good when it’s used. But again, the script (if there was one - there is no actual writer listed, only a “Conceived by” credit for Weisman) is utterly worthless almost from start to finish, so all the technical merits in the world can’t save this one from being what I hope turns out to be the worst film of the year (I know it's only January, but I'm trying to be optimistic here!).
What say you?