On Second Thought: “Entrapment”

The holidays are a busy time. So busy in fact, that even finding a good holiday themed film can become a chore. Not helping in this endeavor, the lack of good holiday film’s to choose from. Once you’ve done the on point ones, what’s left? Films that can loosely be called holiday themed. If I’m going with that search criteria, then I’ll pretty much take anything. It beats not having one to celebrate the holidays with.

The 20th Century Fox film “Entrapment” wishes it could be as good and fun as other heist films.

This crime drama stars Sean Connery (“Sir Billi”, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”), Catherine Zeta-Jones (upcoming series “Feud”, “Dad’s Army”), Will Patton (upcoming “Shots Fired”, “American Honey”), Murray Chaykin (“Conduct Unbecoming”, “Casino Jack”), and Ving Rhames (upcoming “Bastards”, “Operator”).

The film was directed by Jon Amiel (“Outsiders”, “Aquarius”) and written by Ron Bass (upcoming episode “Ice”, “Before We Go”) and William Broyles (upcoming “Six”, “Flags of Our Father”).

It originally opened on April 30, 1999.

Another holiday, another holiday themed film. Well, close enough. I couldn’t figure out how to make this New Year’s Eve piece work, as I did the one definitive New Year’s Eve film last year. Even that wasn’t as terrible as this one was. I searched high and low, and yet, this is what I found. It’s the downside to not having options and wanting to revisit it. I’d gotten it into my head some months ago, that this film needed to be rewatched. Why? I’d seen it when I was younger and apparently liked it enough. It’s films like these, and time, that make it such a fascinating experience to come back to something you love or don’t know what you really thought about. It could prove to be a valuable experience.

I wanted to like this film. I did. But there was no liking it or making it anything but what it ultimately ended up being. A badly constructed complicated bore with stiff characters.

As far as the characters go, the film seemed to start off fine. You got what you needed and could quickly get in line. However, once Zeta-Jones and Connery started sharing scenes together, and showcasing how even they can’t make bad writing look like anything other than what it is, that’s when things began to look hopeless and less interesting. The biggest problem, which for me didn’t reveal itself until a bit later, was that these two main actors had no chemistry. Without chemistry, there was little to be done with the characters, especially when you factor in what the story was asking of these characters. Not helping this chemistry issue, the actual characters were a bit stiff. There was no life in them or any of the other characters. They seemed to go from point a to b, but in the dullest fashion imaginable. Again, I didn’t notice this until well into the film. Mind you, if I had, I would’ve still watched and been throughly bored. That’s what I was. Bored. At some point I realized I wasn’t really having fun. The only thing I wanted this film to do was end. It didn’t end soon enough.

That being said, for a moment, a small moment (minuscule), this film stood a chance. Well, it seemed to. This came somewhat early and in the form of when Zeta-Jones was convincing Connery that she was needed to help steal a mask. That whole portion of the film, minus the acting and non-developing developing relationship, was actually interesting. It was fun. Perhaps it’s just the idea of an art heist that made it so. Every bit of it was entertaining and dare I say, mildly suspenseful. I guess this is one of the good things about not seeing a film in some time and not remembering what all happens. You can be pleasantly surprised by even the smallest of events.

However, after that, there was still about an hour left in the film. Oy. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, everything. The rest of the film brought in one of the most ridiculous aspects of pop culture and history. Granted, this is also how this film gets its holiday themed status and finds itself being my New Year’s Eve film for 2016! New Year’s Eve in 1999 and the Millennium Bug. A surprisingly good plot point, which is also indicative of the silly mindset held at that time. Yes it wasn’t that long ago, but it may as well be 40 years ago. Even when it does reach that age, it’ll still be hilarious and sad. In this film, it’s a wasted opportunity. We’re looking at Zeta-Jones and Connery now wanting to pull a big robbery at a big bank, which will be shutting down its security because of this Y2K fear. Why this bank? Why any bank? There’s something less fascinating and exciting about a bank job, particularly after these two have shown themselves to be quite capable at stealing art. Sadly, this is where some of the film’s biggest problems start to show up. Throughout this big finale sequence, Patton’s character shows up. There’s little explanation for his being there, and all you’re left doing is asking questions. Hopefully they’re not too complex or number too high, as assigning a reason is never achieved.

Thus, by film’s end, everything, including the need to make this just another bank robbery film, became too ridiculous. This film tried too hard. It wanted to be so many things, that along the way, probably even back when Zeta-Jones and Connery were stealing the mask, things got so complicated, that nobody could’ve ever figured out what the point was. This film wanted twists and turns and other surprises, but they weren’t handled well from the beginning. Then, seeing them executed in the film, all the while trying to remember what ridiculous thing came before, only made my head hurt. The logic behind these character’s decisions, and story direction, never fully made sense, and thus my mind was boggled as I tried to connect the pieces laid before me. The thing with twists and turns or any such thing that was attempted here, it has to make sense. Even when you still feel incredibly confused, there still needs to be something that says this works. Viewers need to feel like they have it all figured out, even when they’re still missing some vital information. This film doesn’t do that. Not even close. Perhaps in someone else’s much more capable hands, this could’ve proved to be an exercise worth sitting through. Sadly, it’ll always be one that is mocked and skipped.

I still love holiday themed film’s. Some more than others, and some with a much bigger focus on the holiday of the moment. While this one only covers the holiday aspects for a short while, and isn’t all that good or worth sitting through, it still has me oddly excited. I guess when it comes to the holidays and getting into the next one, it only takes a single film, even a terrible one, that’s sort of set during that time, to get me in the holiday spirit. Here’s hoping next year will yield a better pick for the final film, and holiday, of the year.

Happy New Year!! I’ll see you in 2017!!!


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