Sunday, June 1, 2014

Streaming tip (to miss): Iain Softley's adaptation of Sébastien Japrisot's TRAP FOR CINDERELLA

Iain Softley (shown below) directed one of my favorite scare movies, among the quieter and most genuinely evil and shocking in this genre, The Skeleton Key, and also did a pretty good Henry James adaptation with Wings of the Dove, and so it pains me to have to report that his latest directorial effort, TRAP FOR CINDERELLA, is generally tired and obvious from about the one-third point onwards. I attribute this more to the late writer from whose novel Softley adapted his screenplay: Sébastien Japrisota scribe whose work has "gifted" us with some of the sillier would-be mystery thrillers.

Remember Rider on the Rain, The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun and One Deadly Summer? On the other hand, Japrisot did the marvelous screenplay for Children of the Marshland and the novel on which A Very Long Engagement was based. Perhaps when he worked in other genres, he did a better job. With mysteries, his silly "twists and turns," seldom backed up with much psycholo-gical reality, get tired awfully fast.

So it is with this new film that deals with identity, amnesia and a murder plot. If you haven't figured out what is going on much sooner than the movie dumps it on you, then by all means keep watching.

Once you do figure it out, you simply wait for the film to catch up. And that can be pretty boring. What you'll have to divert you will be the performances and the casting -- which bring to the fore some good actors like Kerry Fox (above, left) and Frances de la Tour, plus that new hottie Aneurin Barnard (here quite under-used), and a couple of attractive and, for all we can tell, maybe talented ladies: Tuppence Middleton (below, right) and Alexandra Roach (below, left).

By the end of this 100-minute-but-still-too-long endeavor, you may simply shrug and ask, so what?  You will find no answer to that question. But perhaps you can content yourself with those silly and unbelievable twists and turns provided by M. Japrisot.

Trap for Cinderella, from IFC Films, is available now via Netflix streaming and maybe elsewhere, too.

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