Trapped review: Danger in the ordinary

Most survival films find their protagonists caught in extraordinary situations—between boulders, stranded in the sea, washed ashore on to some uninhabited island. Trapped is about the horror and danger lurking in the ordinary and the everyday; a modern, urban fable about the likelihood of getting marooned in the security and safety of your own home. No wonder the threats and the fears cut close to the bone. It could well happen to any one of us. Dysfunctional locks, forgotten keys, mobiles with discharged batteries, water cuts and electrical outages—we have all been there. Not just that; the film also manages to bring to fore the everyday worries tucked away deep in the recesses our minds even if it doesn’t quite show them on screen—in my case, for instance, it reignited the dread of getting locked out of the car or house, or being home alone in the company of a sinister lizard, or two.

Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao), a regular guy with a regular job, moves quietly into a new apartment in a high rise in Mumbai’s Prabhadevi. The same flat would have otherwise felt like a great room with a magnificent view—sprawling, shiny new constructions stretching all the way; the sea at a distance. However, for Shaurya it becomes a hell hole, despite the “welcome” banner on the wall. A place he gets shut in without a soul being aware of his whereabouts.

  • Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
  • Starring: Rajkummar Rao, Geetanjali Thapa
  • Runtime: 105 minutes

With him the film takes the audience to the edge of the seat and also makes it face its own weaknesses and resourcefulness in crises. Can we, like Shaurya, overcome the worst of our fears for the larger question of survival? Can we put something as basic as the elastic in the underwear to good use? Can we find an ally in someone we fear, like a rat?

Trapped makes us look afresh at all the banal things we take for granted. A plate of buttery, sinful pav bhaji or the ride in the local packed with sweaty bodies suddenly seems life-affirming and meaningful when life itself is slipping away from you. How could you miss the daily stress of office and something as necessary as bathing can turn into a luxury.

It also brings alive the other side of the urban jungle—the invisible lives tucked away in unauthorised, unoccupied buildings, of being undetectable in the massive crowds, of finding your voice drowned out in the noise, being utterly alone in the sea of humanity.

Rao maximises the minimal set-up available to him as an actor to bring out the vulnerability as well as resilience of Shaurya, moving from exasperation to suffocation to despair with specks of humour and hope thrown in. The music and sound only magnify the tension. As do the interludes of humour in the takedown of the city’s vegetarian fascists. However, there are a couple of critical plot points that left me unconvinced and a bit baffled, specially the one leading to the possibility of freedom for Shaurya. Saying anything more though would be giving away the film.

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Printable version | Sep 13, 2021 10:25:48 PM |

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