Most people don’t prepare for getaways with their spouses by buying a hammer, a hacksaw, duct tape and rope — but Lars (Aksel Hennie) is not most people, and “The Trip,” directed by Tommy Wirkola, is not most movies. Its initial premise is this: Lars has planned to murder his wife, Lisa (Noomi Rapace), during their holiday, but he’s thwarted when it turns out Lisa has been preparing to do away with him on the very same trip. Unfortunately, while that concept promises a fun, agile thriller, “The Trip” all too quickly descends into a juvenile, nihilistic mess.
Lars and Lisa’s mutual blood bath turns into a group affair when some unexpected outsiders, including the escaped convicts Dave (Christian Rubeck), Roy (Andre Eriksen) and Petter (Atle Antonsen), coincidentally join the fray. Each actor gamely tackles the ensuing violence and emotional turbulence, and Rapace is particularly excellent at juggling the two. The film reveals its many surprises through flashbacks, sharp editing and an absurd script clearly aiming for irreverence.
But “The Trip” upsets its own tenuous balance of darkness and drollery, grasping at tasteless material about genitals and poop, though its basic premise is much smarter — and perfectly delightful — on its own. Such artlessness turns what could be a quick, jaunty movie into a slog. By the end of a protracted attempted rape sequence, I was dismayed to discover that I was only halfway through its two-hour duration.
“The Trip” is occasionally fun, but other films have handled gleeful gore and psychological torture with a far more skillful touch. The film pays clear homage to Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games,” a whip-smart commentary on cinematic violence. It doesn’t do itself any favors by inviting that comparison.