Written and directed by Hackers and Backbeat’s Iain Softley, Trap for Cinderella is a convoluted, low-budget affair that aspires to the darkly devilish plot twists and narrative surprises of classic French-set thrillers like Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Les Diaboliques and Claude Chabrol’s Innocents with Dirty Hands.
But thanks to its pork-fisted efforts to embed the viewer inside the delusions, uncertainties and full-on identity crisis of its amnesiac central character, the movie it perhaps bears closest resemblance to is Trance – the recent idiotic thriller that saw Danny Boyle spunking all his post-Opening Ceremony goodwill with even more ruthless efficiency than if he’d gobbed in Jessica Ennis’s ear and called her a heifer.
Trance featured actress Tuppence Middleton, although she had the relative good fortune that her character got killed off, thereby defenestrating her from the whole preposterous blancmange. And here Tuppence is again, playing Micky; a posho dilettante possessed of what we’re supposed to believe is an intense, overpowering animal magnetism, despite having what appears to be a road-killed squirrel for a haircut.
Living amidst the dirt and desperation of the Shoreditch party circuit, Micky’s a model-cum-photographer who’s shagging a pipsqueak prick of a DJing lawyer (Aneurin Barnard). Irresistible as she is, she also has her own stalker, in the shape of Do (Alexandra Roach), a wishy-washy bank clerk who used to hang out with Micky when they were kids, back when both their families lived in France.
Softley’s film begins with Micky awakening following plastic surgery to repair gruesome injuries incurred in a devastating explosion at her aunt’s villa – an explosion which has apparently left Do dead as dodo. Or a do-nail.
The subsequent story unfolds via a garble of flashbacks, diary entries, flashbacks within diary entries, and word-of-mouth accounts. It’s a highly self-conscious, untidy structure that somehow adds up to nothing more than a conventional, mostly implausible crime mystery. Actually, in addition to Trance, the movie I was most keenly reminded of while watching Trap for Cinderella was the equally preposterous, infinitely more entertaining Shattered, starring Tom Berenger.
Toss some unintentionally sniggersome scenes into the mix (Do and Micky’s ‘wild’ existence manifesting itself by going shopping for top hats – ker-razy!), and you’re left with a movie which, while not un-entertaining in a Midsummer Murders kind of way, is impossible to describe as a quality thriller, at least not without chewing the inside of your cheek to stop from laughing.
Trap for Cinderella is released in the UK on 12 July