blurred boundaries between female friends in arty London
Plastic surgery restores a burn victim's face, but amnesia thwarts her attempts to remember who she is. Slowly, flashback fragments coalesce in a story. Two young English women who shared childhood holidays in the South of France meet as adults in swinging London. Bank clerk "Do" (Alexandra Roach) seems needier than Goth photographer "Mickey" (Tuppence Middleton), whose old aunt will die sooner-than-later and leave her a fortune. Dowdy Do quits her job, moves in, and starts to style herself on her wilder friend, in a borderline siamese-twin neurosis recalling Bergman's classic "Persona" (1966).
Source material Sébastien Japrisot's novel of the same name, filmed in French in 1965, paints a crisis-of-identity and voyage-to-the-self with a Noir twist. Psychological pay-off takes a backseat to arson, betrayal, blackmail, con artistry, mind control, and murder. And yet, these baser instincts are filmed with a light touch and the focus correctly stays on two disparate personalities in complex closeness. Middleton and Roach are up to the challenge. After a slow start, "Trap" finds its groove, but a meddlesome soundtrack distracts, lackluster camerawork diffuses, hyperactive edits undermine, and too many bared breasts suggest someone lost confidence in the story.
Don't blame virtuoso storyteller Japrisot for this Cinderella's wobbly script. Director Iain Softley has rearranged the intrigue as imitation Cronenberg. Hamstrung by secondrate production values, he also soft-pedals the class difference between Mickey and Do. "Her mother was your aunt's housekeeper," a throw-away line by the film's villainess (Kerry Fox), is the only clue that Do is the Cinderella of the title. And yet that is the key to the mystery.
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