Trespass Against Us 15A
Career criminal Chad (Michael Fassbender) is eager for his young son, Tyson, to receive a formal education and have the opportunities that were denied to him by his own father, Colby (Brendan Gleeson) - also a career criminal. However, after a high-profile robbery brings down the law on them, he's forced to decide between honouring his father or separating entirely from him.
Coming into Trespass Against Us, you wonder why the film has flown under the radar as such with well-known names like Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson leading the film. Unfortunately, it all becomes clear within the space of about ten minutes when you realise that while they both feature strongly in the film, they are both more or less completely unintelligible in what they're saying. It's no exaggeration to say that you'll spend most of the film desperately trying to follow the dialogue - which, sadly, fills a lot of the film's lean running time - and the other half trying to figure out what's happening.
Trespass Against Us follows in the tradition of British crime films, wherein it leans heavily into the particular environment it's set and the language and eccentricities of it. Get Carter, for example, was all grey skies and Geordie accents. Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels was Lahdahn slang and Alan Ford yarns. With Trespass Against Us, it's rural Gloucester and criminal members of the Travelling Community. Yet, while these other examples drew us in, Trespass Against Us instead makes a point of keeping the audience out - both by making them incredibly difficult to understand not all that likeable, either.
Michael Fassbender's character murders a police dog pursuing and then gloats to the police officer who trained him, played by Rory Kinnear. Another scene sees Fassbender's character dump paint over Sean Harris, who has some sort of mental illness or learning disability. Meanwhile, Brendan Gleeson's bullish patriarch talks about how he knows the world is flat and sermonises his clan with his own story of Jesus. While it's easy to understand Fassbender's motivations for wanting a better life for his son, the story doesn't do much in the way of expanding it beyond what you'd expect.
However, the bursts of action are what make the film more tolerable and it's clear that director Adam Smith has a firm grasp on editing, pacing and shooting sequences such as these. Likewise, the Chemical Brothers' soundtrack over these helps to give them a real sense of urgency, all grungey beats set to a banged-up Austin Metro careening around corners in middle England. Likewise, a foot-chase that ends with Fassbender's character hiding under a cow shows that Smith's direction is confident and assured. However, the fact is that the story itself - once you strip away the A-list cast and the vaguely unique environment - isn't all that interesting or original, and more to the point, it's been done better before.
Despite this, Trespass Against Us has some well crafted action to it, but not enough to keep it being any other than a missed opportunity.
Review by Brian Lloyd | 16:26 | Tuesday 28th February 2017 | Movie Review