The Trap
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
If there is possibly a positive result of the terrible wars that disintegrated Yugoslavia, it is that the film makers from this former nation have been facing the truths it brought them square on, and creating some of the most memorable, moving and stunning films that are being made in Europe today.

Certainly very high on the list of these remarkable accomplishments is THE TRAP, a tense, emotionally powerful study of the consequences of violence on the individual, and the way that an act against one's core principles, even for the most understandable and sympathetic reason, can begin to destroy utterly one's sense of self.

It's one thing to have a great theme for a film, it's another to be able to realize it so consistently--with deep performances, suspenseful rhythms, stunning camerawork, and a consistency of tone that equals the finest films. The only recent film I can recall that left the same sort of admiration in me is the Russian film THE RETURN -- very different in subject matter and technique, but both films share a sense of remarkable artistic integrity that is really hard to find in films today.

Another virtue that makes THE TRAP so rewarding is the tightness of the its script, and that its events move relentlessly forward like the very best thrillers. But instead of concentrating on the "adrenalin excesses" of the American models, it fixes its attention on the emotional turmoil of its hero--that turmoil is what gives the film so much of its powerful feelings, and why I want to recommend it so highly.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This is a chilling, thought-provoking, densely packed, highly emotionally charged and gripping film about personal choices and the consequences that follow. Set in Serbia after the most recent Balkan War, it is a time of inflation, competition and corruption. It difficult for an average, middle-class working family to cover the costs of an exorbitantly high surgical procedure, a life-saving one which is only available in Germany. The Pavlovic family, Mladen (the dad) and Marija (the mom) learn their only child, a son Nemanja who is a swimming champion at the local elementary school has a serious heart condition which is life-threatening. The doctor explained he will continue to have heart seizures without warning and may eventually die unexpectedly from one. Mladen, the father is a supervisor at what was the most prominent Civil Engineering Firm under the old regime but it has fallen on hard times and needs an infusion of foreign investment to remain competitive and successful. Marija is a high school English teacher. Together they make just enough money for a comfortable life in Belgrade, living in a large apartment building meeting their financial obligations month to month and from paycheck to paycheck.

The family is unable to secure a bank loan to provide the help their son needs. They have no collateral. They are anxiety ridden, helpless backed against an insurmountable wall, unable to help their only child. The director uses the camera to maximum effect, shooting close shots of facial expressions and using long shots to capture the grimness of cityscapes. There is a stark local park and children's playground nearby where Nemanja meets a spoiled, precocious little girl from a wealthy family, close to his age. Mladen exchanges pleasantries with her mother as they children become friends ...

Marija, the mother seeks donations but her husband, Mladen is not happy with the drastic step she took to expose their personal problem to the world. Mladen feels trapped with no way out until he receives an anonymous phone call offering him a huge amount of money which would cover the expenses of the surgery but it involves performing an illegal action/service for someone. After this point in the film, Mladen's life starts to unravel, thread by thread as his emotions are erratic and uncontrollable. He makes a second fatal decision. The reader needs to view the film to discover how their son's problems are resolved and what effects the decisions made by the parents have on this serious event. This is an amazingly outstanding and sensitive film which explores a difficult subject, creating mystery, suspense, drama and a power-packed resolution. It is most highly recommended. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2014
I've seen this movie twice and loved it, but I was born in former Yugoslavia and may have a slight bias. The other reviewers have summarized the film well but I'll add a few points. In modern Serbia which is reeling from the economic devastation that Nato bombardment and years of sanctions imposed on their country have effected, a professional couple find their standard of living has fallen drastically. As the father waits for a foreign firm to buy out the company he works for, his only child is stricken with a medical condition that may be remediated in Germany for an unattainable price.

Both parents are trapped and cannot possibly raise the necessary funds. The mother, Marija, in utter despair, goes public asking for donations while the father, Mladen, is confronted by a dreadful moral dilemma when a stranger contacts him, ostensibly desiring to help his son, but in effect asking him to kill a man and offering a large sum in payment. The intended victim is not a businessman but a gangster, a new breed which arose during the war and made immense fortunes in dirty dealings: selling weapons to all sides, in addition to drugs, cigarettes and other black market commodities. It would be a no brainer for some, ridding the world of an evil being in exchange for a beloved son's life, however the main character is an ethical man and struggles with his choice. He is also a Serbian man and the fact that he cannot take care of his family's needs weighs heavily on him.

Once the decision to carry out the hit has been made, his guilt is further compounded by the fact that he has unknowingly befriended the gangster's beautiful and kind wife and daughter at the local playground. From that point everything turns for the worse as he finds himself cheated of the payment and in danger of losing his family. I won't give away the rest of this thrilling neo-noir which deals more with human emotions and the repercussion of difficult choices that most of us in the West, as comfortable as we are, will ever have to make.

I have not heard of the director but am familiar with the lead actors [ I'll spell their names phonetically] Neboyshah Glogovatz and Natasha Ninkovich and am only sorry that the body of work that they have participated in is not translated/ subtitled because they are both terrific. The only other films that I can think of which were brought to the English speaking public were the marvelous Savior with Dennis Quaid which takes place during the Bosnian wars, and in which the two play brother and sister. Anitsa Dobra [ the gangster's wife ]was in the delightful Tito and I --a comedy about a little boy living with his hilarious extended family in a communal apartment during the Tito era. Miki Manoylovich as the crook who hires Mladen has been in many international productions and in the fairly well known Kosturica productions When Father was Away on Business and Underground as well as Artemisia.

For the reviewer who found this film far fetched, I can assure you that it is totally realistic and professional executions were not unknown for a period of time in former Yugoslavia. Recommended.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The 2007 Serbian/Hungary dramatic film The Trap is a film that most certainly provokes the moral question: would you murder a stranger to save the life of your child? Most anyone with or without children have a possibility of being in this same situation and I believe that most people would answer it with a simple yes or no. After you watch the film, you may come out with a more clear answer to the question.

The story focuses on a young father, Mladen (Nebojsa Glogovac) and his wife Marija (Natasa Ninkoviæ) have learned their son is burdened with a life-threatening situation if he does not get surgery soon. The family has no means to pay the exorbitant amount of money for surgery and the sum is what the insurance does not cover. So, a shocking proposition is made to the father that will save his son's life. He is to kill a stranger for the money. Mladen takes on the proposal without his wife's knowledge, which further complicates the marriage.

Plenty of emotional and dramatic action takes place, with some twists and turns, and he is in serious deep doodoo, where he cannot dig himself out.

Deep, dark and with fascination of the human spirit, the protagonist's proposition soon isolates him, he is dark and lonely, and in sheer desperation and guilt. There are plenty of closeups to show his tortured face. The film has won some awards and it is based on a book. See it.....Rizzo
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on February 9, 2013
This film Noire does a good job of showing the haves and the have-nots in modern Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism. It portrays a feeling of economic Dawinism that pervades modern Serbia and how the common people in everyday jobs are desparately trying to cling on while those at the top have it all. The main character is faced with a dillema in an offer to kill a man to obtain money for his son's expensive heart operation ASAP. As in all film Noires things go wrong. Definitely worth seeing and a genuine interesting slice of Serbian life.
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on June 25, 2013
A fantastic question lies at the center of this movie: How far would you go to save your son's life? In this movie, we watch as the main character answers that question by getting into deeper and deeper trouble, slowly turning into a bad guy himself. this REALLY reminds me of a great, two-hour episode of Breaking Bad. Same general layout and plot. if you don't mind the subtitles, this is a good one.
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on October 26, 2012
This was an excellent film - heart wrenching and sad but worth watching. The film shows how far a father will go to save his child, and at the end there are really no winners. I wanted so badly for the characters, especially the father, to find some redemption. A chance to make things right. Definitely have to like a film that envelopes you into the story.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
First things first, I am a huge fan of the Film Movement library of foreign and indie movies (so much so that I recently finally entered a subscription to the one movie a month). I am still catching up on older Film Movement releases and not long ago fell upon this one. I literally knew nothing about the film before seeing it.

"The Trap" (2007 release from Serbia; 106 min.) brings the story of a Serbian couple who are barely making ends meet, and then get confronted with a terrible situation: their young son falls gravely ill, and desparately needs surgery which cannot be done in Serbia, but there is a clinic in Berlin that can do it. The cost is 26,000 Euros, which the couple does not have. After placing an ad in a local newspaper, the dad is approached with an offer to kill a business person for 30,000 Euros. As it turns out, the dad knows that person indirectly because of his interactions with the busniness person's wife and daughter (who attends the same school with his gravely ill son). To give away much more of the plot would ruin your viewing pleasure of the movie.

I have to say that I was blown away by this movie from start to finish. I don't know any of these actors or the director, but this movie is done just perfectly. It kept me interested throughout. This is obviously MILES away from your standard Hollywood fare, but if you like a good foreign movie, I can promise you that you will not be disappointed. "The Trap" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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on April 9, 2013
I didn't believe that I would truly enjoy this but, just decided to give it a try. I am gad that I did because it does give you the story line you want in a movie and holding your interest!
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on February 26, 2015
What a moralistic movie...gave it to a college professor who teaches ethics...that should be a clue....life is no longer black and white, but has many shades of gray...
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