Director: Supriya Sobti Gupta| Time to play: 77 minutes | Year: 2023
Sport is usually pretty boring, but that’s part of it. Sports fans take it all for granted knowing it’s “real.” If you want the underdog to always make the winning point at the last minute, you’re better off setting up Netflix. Now there is a new documentary about a cricket match-fixing scandal that rocked the people of India at the turn of the century. Cardboard heads of players were burned in the street. However, it is Trapped: Crime. Corruption. Cricket. more boring than sport. .
Oddly enough, match fixers don’t make many home videos of their hobby, so the documentary relies almost entirely on reenactment scenes. Those involved jump through hoops and stare thoughtfully out of a car window or up a very long staircase. The tension comes mostly from the dramatic music and the shocking revelations written in that typewriter font.
Initially, there is great disbelief among the public that their favorite cricket heroes are being maligned, and journalists really have to go all out with spy cameras and undercover operations. However, the tension that comes with it disappears as soon as the door is opened and the authorities take over the investigation. The players are guilty. The players deny and lie in a television interview. The players are shown the evidence and decide to confess anyway. Finalized. The anecdotes to give color to all this are scarce.
The precise reconstruction of the criminal investigation is therefore not very interesting, also because in the end it turns out that, although gambling is prohibited in India, match-fixing is not punishable. Then the documentary comes too late with the suggestion of a twist; all the evidence is circumstantial and all the players have recanted their confessions. Maybe they hadn’t? The answer: they did.
You won’t get many more answers, while there are many questions. It is briefly stated that bookmakers have been scanning talented players for years for weaknesses in order to bribe them, but what motivates a player to do so? O: How widespread was match-fixing really, and how did this culture of silence come about? Has match-fixing been eradicated since then? The forensic perspective alone does not produce enough here.
It’s foolish to focus on what’s not there, but Trapped: Crime. Corruption. Cricket. it just doesn’t handle the available material well. In the end, one of the whistleblowers, the eccentric Manoj Prabhakar, turns out to be one of those bribed. He then participated in a sting operation to frame an innocent person, while he himself was guilty. He throws himself into the attic just before closing time. If something was really made of this, at least the tension didn’t have to come from amateur theater and swollen strings.
Trapped: Crime. Corruption. Cricket can be seen in Netflix.