7 August 2000 | xorys
Totally unsympathetic protagonist destroys promising thriller
The problem I had with this movie was basically very simple - I found the protagonist, played by Adam Baldwin, absolutely loathsome. Now this wouldn't necessarily be a problem... many excellent movies have been made about horrible people. Unfortunately this movie seems to have been constructed firmly on the basis that the audience would identify with this guy and sympathise with the situations he finds himself in. Since this wasn't remotely true for me, the film completed failed to work in my experience. If this guy showed up at my door, I'd slam it in his face. If he sat near me in a public place, I'd change seats to get away from him. Do you remember the movie "A Shock to the System"? Somewhat similar to this movie, in a way... but there Michael Caine succeeded in invoking empathy as the central character, and hence the movie worked. Whereas... well one of the taglines for "Shock to the System" was something about "die yuppie scum" - and that's pretty much how I felt about Adam Baldwin's character in "Trade Off". Theresa Russell is a pleasure to watch... she has a strange, rather flat kind of affect, but I've always enjoyed her work. Unfortunately every single scene she's in also has Baldwin's repulsive yuppie in, thereby effectively ruining it. An unfortunate case where the failure of one character realisation ruins the whole film... which otherwise had some promise (sort of "Strangers on a Train" redone with an erotic relationship between the strangers thrown in, and extra twists).