Trapped is a 2017 psychological thriller directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, written by Amit Joshi and Hardik Mehta and stars Rajkummar Rao and Geetanjali Thapa. The film follows the story of a man who locks himself in an apartment on the 35th floor of an empty high-rise residential building.
Trapped was quite the interesting movie watching experience for me. I went in with balanced expectations and, the annoying teenagers who wouldn’t stop talking notwithstanding, the film delivered on them. The central performance is good, the premise is a winner and some scenes ooze tension, but this is where it stops for me. The film reaches for greatness and doesn’t quite get there. It makes for an interesting watch but not for a great think piece. The film plays as a metaphor for urban living and the effect fear has on a person’s life. It shows the loneliness of city life and how insignificant any one person is in the sea of people that make a city tick. The film does not make this obvious however as it chooses to focus on the story it is trying to tell. The film earns major points there even though it might not work in this film’s overall context. One doesn’t need to show off one’s intelligence, if one possesses the quality, it’ll show and this film follows this mantra.
My first gripe with the film before it starts showing off all its coolness is how it gets to its primary plot. Again, I understand its metaphorical nature but as its own self-contained story, it fails any semblance of a logic test. Look, I don’t care how desperate you are to find a home to rent, I refuse to believe you’ll rent a flat in a building which does not even have a front gate or another soul in sight. No sane person would do this as everything about it would raise red flags. As a corollary to this, the film goes to great lengths to show our lead character’s ingenuity. Showing me he is a competent enough guy while also telling me that he made the undeniably stupid choice in renting out a flat in a 40 building without an other soul in sight, really grinds my gears. Not to mention the literal deus ex-machinas that happen to keep the film from dying out.
The film has some truly inspired moments once these shenanigans are out the door. The sheer impossibility of escaping his situation is brilliantly told using the visual medium. The lead character’s desperation is illustrated fantastically. His innovative methods of trying to conquer his fears and limitations are disturbing yet joyous. The film damn near uses every single thing available in the apartment as a plot device, everything from empty paint cans to rocks. The film made me thirsty even though I had a Coca Cola sitting right next to me, I know the film is doing something right if I had that feeling going on. But then again, between these riveting moments, which form the bones of the film, the film does have enough in terms of meat to sustain itself for its 100-minute run-time which results in odd pacing issues.
I heard that the film was made off a 35-page script. I was equal parts amazed and skeptical when I received that information. All I could think of was, how does a film expect to fill its runtime with so little? Simple answer, it does not. But it is, however, a jolly good time if these pesky logical and pacing flaws don’t concern you. The film had me hooked as long as it did because of one simple reason, I was there with him in that apartment. I was busy looking around it and trying to figure out what could help me if I ever were to find myself in his situation. I’m sure most viewers watching the film would have a similar experience as it is a story that lends itself to intellectually sparring with its audience.
Would I have done a few things differently? Yes. Would I have thought of a few things he does? No. But does the film succeed in engaging an audience? You’re damn right, it does.
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