Films | Trapped- Movie Review

Trapped- Movie Review

Posted by Vivek on March 19, 2017 | No Comments

FILM – Trapped

PRODUCER – Vikas Bahl, Anurag Kashyap & Madhu Mantena Varma (producer),
Dipa De Motwane & Shibashish Sarkar (co-producer)

DIRECTOR – Vikramaditya Motwane

WRITER – Amit Joshi, Hardik Mehta

CAST – Rajkummar Rao, Geetanjali Thapa, Khushboo Upadhyay

MUSIC – Alokananda Dasgupta

Trapped, the film centres on the dilemma of Shaurya (Rajkumar Rao), a mid/low-level executive in a firm in Mumbai, trapped in an abandoned hi-rise – ghost structures Mumbai is quite familiar with. In a taut, tight thriller, Trapped lays bare the falling apart of human resilience and its rebuilding in its protagonist’s desperate efforts for freedom.

There is a lot to like in this film. Set in a single apartment for most part, the film starkly conveys the claustrophobia and anxiety of the situation while keeping the suspense on edge always. Rajkumar Rao as the young, hapless trapped man plays the part with firm conviction that lends the film its emotional heft. We want this chap to escape, we want to know how he does, if at all. Right till the end, the film maintains that armrest-grabbing tension as hope flits in and out of his universe.

And while we are catching our breath, because the film does allow that, in fact it wants us to do that – we take in the emotional dilemmas and breakdown of the protagonist. And in charting this desperation is where the film falters. Its emotional graph is bloodless, its conceits unnecessarily massy, its choices of emotional tropes (writing with blood, killing a bird to eat when he is a vegetarian) seem less realist and more pandering to the gallery. Rather than want to know, understand and feel his dilemma, (or want him to be released from it) all we seem to want to know is how does he escape. Even Shawshank Redemption did much more than that and it did not have to considering its central conceits and narrative choices.

Umpteen number of films have detected, depicted, dissected and deconstructed this desperation and there seem to be very sharp imprints of Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours and Fred Zimmeck’s Castaway in the template Trapped, with tropes borrowed freely but sketchily. The graph of degeneration creeping gradually upon the protagonist, a logical necessity in Castaway (and in films of this genre) is almost a technically calculated graph here. The back and forth between reality and hallucinations that 127 Hours did brilliantly is but a tacky trope here. And so is the romance angle in the prologue and epilogue (Gitanjali Thapa is exquisite, though). It tries to make us feel for the man, and well, at least it made the effort.

A lot of the film travels in silence but is filled up with music, and music that underscores more than evokes and most of the time interferes with the emotional experience. How can you enter the dark vacancy of a lone trapped man if you shy away from silence?

In the last ten minutes, however, the film does something to you. The stark, still eye with which the horror is revisited brings home the real haunting and daunting nature of the trauma he has just been through. The enormity of it all hits you suddenly and then you wonder, where was this while he was in it? There were only goosebumps and there are goosebumps in this film for sure, a lot of them, but then goosebumps happen only at the surface.

Fatema Kagalwala

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