Trapped (2002 film)

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Trapped film.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Luis Mandoki
Produced by Mark Canton
Luis Mandoki
Mimi Polk Gitlin
Written by Greg Iles
Starring Charlize Theron
Courtney Love
Stuart Townsend
Kevin Bacon
Dakota Fanning
Pruitt Taylor Vince
Music by John Ottman
Cinematography Frederick Elmes
Piotr Sobocinski
Edited by Gerald B. Greenberg
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • September 20, 2002 (2002-09-20)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million
Box office $13,414,416[1]

Trapped is a 2002 American-German crime thriller film based on Greg Iles' bestselling novel 24 Hours and directed by Luis Mandoki and released under the banner 'Propaganda Films Production.' It stars Charlize Theron, Courtney Love, Stuart Townsend, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Fanning and Pruitt Taylor Vince, and was released on September 20, 2002.


Joe Hickey (Kevin Bacon), his wife Cheryl (Courtney Love) and his cousin Marvin (Pruitt Taylor Vince) have developed a money-making scheme – they kidnap the child of rich parents, hold the child for 24 hours and demand ransom money from the father. They each have a specific role in the operation – Marvin kidnaps the child, Joe stays in the victims' house to control the mother, and Cheryl deals with the father.

Dr Will Jennings (Stuart Townsend) is a research physician who has just had his big career break by patenting a new anaesthetic drug. His wife, Karen Jennings (Charlize Theron), who was previously a nurse, is a stay-at-home mother to their daughter Abigail aka Abby (Dakota Fanning). Joe targets Abigail as the next kidnapping victim and the trio begin to enact their usual plan.

Abby is kidnapped by Joe and Marvin and they soon discover that she has asthma and is dependent on an inhaler pump. Marvin takes Abby to his cabin and Joe holds Karen hostage. Cheryl keeps Will at gunpoint and informs him of his daughter's kidnapping. It is subsequently revealed that Cheryl and Joe kidnapped Abby because they believe that Will is responsible for the recent death of their daughter Katie. Katie had a tumor and died while being operated on by Will. Will says that Katie died because of unforeseen bleeding during the operation. It is revealed that Joe's plan was not to let Abby go home after the ransom is paid, but rather, to keep her and raise her as his own daughter.

Abby begins to have an asthma attack at the cabin, which makes Marvin panic. Joe allows Karen to see Abby in order to administer medication to her. While being separated from Abby again, Karen tries to fight Joe but he subdues her and then rapes her. She manages to injure him with a concealed scalpel and heads to her bathroom where she receives a phone call from Abby. Abby attempts to escape from Marvin's cabin but is consequently recaptured by him. Marvin has become fond of Abby, and begins to devise a plan with her about escaping. Joe forces Karen to stitch up his wound.

Cheryl loses her nerve and Will takes advantage of this, convincing her to help him get Abby back. Together, they go to the bank to get the ransom money while being monitored by the police. Joe and Cheryl have a heated argument on the phone, and Will realises that he must act quick. He boards a seaplane, looking for Abby. Meanwhile, Joe and Karen are driving together in a car on the freeway, and Marvin and Abby are travelling in a wagon. Karen attacks Joe, forcing them off the freeway. Will spots Abby, and lands the seaplane on the freeway. Marvin loses control of the wagon, forcing him off the freeway as well and orders Abby to escape to find her parents, but she is captured by Cheryl.

With help from a friend, Will is able to trace the cell phone calls and tries to locate Abby. Will's friend alerts the FBI, despite being asked not to, and they soon arrive on the scene to search for Abby. Joe, pretending to be an FBI agent, shoots Will in the leg, but stops when Will admits that Katie's death was not his fault. Before Joe, Cheryl and Marvin can escape, Abby has another asthma attack while in their custody. Joe and Will engage in a fight, but Karen shoots Joe twice, killing him. Will and Karen are reunited with Abby and quickly medicate her before her symptoms worsen. Marvin slowly walks away from them, and Cheryl is arrested by the FBI.



On the film-critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Trapped earned 18% positive reviews based on 57 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "With its plot about child kidnapping and endangerment, Trapped is an exploitative thriller, more queasy than suspenseful."[2] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly called the film "a negligible work of manipulation, an exploitation piece doing its usual worst to guilt-trip parents." She felt "The most frightening sight, though, is that of Theron and Bacon, good actors trapped in the muck of making a living."[3] Robert K. Elder of the Chicago Tribune wrote: "Excellent abduction films such as "Breakdown" and the original "The Vanishing" maintain a sense of danger and claustrophobia by keeping the conflicts mostly internal, turning up the temperature under a fluctuating tone of emotional duress. "Trapped" splashes its drama all over the screen, subjecting its audience and characters to action that feels not only manufactured, but also so false you can see the filmmakers' puppet strings."[4] One of the few critics who gave a favorable review was Megan Turner of the New York Post who described the film as "a tightly drawn, propulsive thriller with some pleasingly unexpected kinks in the tale and a couple of believable performances from Charlize Theron and Kevin Bacon in the leads."[5]


  1. ^ "Trapped". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Trapped". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 17, 2017. 
  3. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (September 25, 2002). "Trapped". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 17, 2017. 
  4. ^ Elder, Robert K. (September 21, 2002). "`Trapped' runs amok in its own rash sensationalism". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 17, 2017. 
  5. ^ Turner, Megan (September 21, 2002). "RAPT 'TRAPPED' : KIDNAP CREW TANGLES WITH SUPERMOM THERON". New York Post. Retrieved October 17, 2017. 

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