09 November, 2008

Klopka (The Trap) (2007)

Paying the price

Srdan Golubović,director of the critically acclaimed Apsolutnih sto (Absolute Hundred) (2001), here turns his attention to a prosaic, personal nightmare that asks the question: How much is any person's life worth?

Adapted from Nenad Teofilovic's novel by Melina Pota Koljevic and Srdjan Koljevic, The Trap is set in modern-day Serbia, post Milosevic. Mladen (Nebojsa Glogovac) is an honest construction businessman struggling to make ends meet - corruption and theft are endemic in both his profession and the country as a whole, but he has the support of his loving wife Marija (Natasa Ninkovic) and his young son Nemanja (Marko Djurovic), whom he adores, to fall back on.

Then, disaster - Nemanja is diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening heart condition that is operable, but will cost €30,000 to carry out the procedure. In desperation, Marija places an advert for help in the local paper. A man, Kosta Antic (Miki Manojlovic), offers to pay the entire sum, but there's a big catch - Mladen will have to murder Antic's business rival. With his options running out and his son's health deteriorating, which way will Mladen go, and what price will he have to pay?

Borrowing a great deal from Western film-noir sensibilities, and very well acted by all players, The Trap is an engrossing, if ultimately somewhat simplistic take on a harrowing idea.

The movie literate will not have too much difficulty second-guessing where the narrative will take you, but the overall, haunting sense of doom is very well maintained.

In short, its 'It Could Happen To You' thrust is kept credible, thanks to the straight-faced approach of all concerned. Recommended.

Awards: Director Srdan Golubović took the Grand Prix at the Sofia International Film Festival 2007.

106 mins. In Serbo-Croatian.

No comments: