The Trap (2007)
FilmMovement.com is a DVD club that specializes in off-the-beaten-track foreign titles which they release monthly. A year or two back, they put out a well-reviewed noirish crime drama from Serbian director Srdjan Golubovic entitled The Trap (2007) and despite several trips with the DVD to Segredos in recent months, I finally got around to watching it tonight.
It’s been a grim and grimmer selection of films this week – Four Lions, Confessions, an episode of the BBC series Luther and now this harsh, existential thriller set in the gray, utterly hopeless suburbs of contemporary Belgrade. Note to self….never go there. The story involves a young, state-employed professional couple and their young son. The son is diagnosed with a rare heart ailment that requires an expensive surgery that’s well beyond their station. An ad is placed in the local paper seeking financial assistance and a mysterious benefactor contacts the father with a proposition – kill a business associate for the stranger and the monies for the surgery will be made available.
As you can probably imagine, things go from bad to worse as the father’s noirish ethical nightmare morphs into a Greek tragedy by the end of the film’s slightly-too-long 106 minute running time. Layered ironies conspire to create a situation where an essentially good man is forced by circumstances beyond his control to consider an evil act. Did I mention Belgrade might just be the saddest place on the planet?
A nicely-acted film, shot in dreary tones that pass for colours in Serbia, but I’m not sure if the film isn’t just too depressing to suggest anyone else bother.
Never go to Belgrade. That’s what I learned tonight.