Director: Adam Smith
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson & Lyndsey Marshal
Synopsis: A man looks to find a way to escape the criminal ways of his outlaw family.
Rating: 15 Duration: 99 minutes Release date: 3 July (UK)

Casting Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson in any film is a feat that should always be celebrated. The two are acting powerhouses for various reasons; Fassbender the indie actor who made it big, while Gleeson has continually turned out roles that have marked him as one of the best actors of his generation. It’s saddening then, that Trespass Against Us is a film that fails to hold up to their high standards.

First time director Adam Smith, along with writer Alastair Siddons have crafted a film about a travelling family living in the Gloucestershire countryside, evading the law and living a life as free as possible. While the idea may not be entirely unique, it does paint a picture that we may not normally see on the big screen. Unfortunately, Trespass Against Us is a film full of ideas but that is unsure on how to best deploy them. The narrative bounces around and the actions of the locally infamous Cutler family are never really explored or explained and leave the audience without anything to hold onto. Events transpire and the family find themselves at odds with the police and themselves, but the film fails to engage and it becomes very hard to enjoy.

While the film generally feels like it has all the subtlety of an alcoholic who’s been locked in a brewery, it does have the benefit of two great leads. Both Fassbender and Gleeson manage to convey a fondness for each other while also managing to turn out the tension that often lies beneath a father/son relationship. Fassbender’s hard-nosed performance is countered by a naivety towards the lifestyle his father has forced upon him. While Gleeson has that dry wit and world-weary charm nailed down, he is capable of possessing any scene with a look or a word to assert his dominance.

Director Adam Smith is able to show off his visual flair during several high-speed pursuits. These are heightened by Tom Rowlands’ (The Chemical Brothers) visceral score that really adds assertion and confidence to these high-intensity scenes. Regrettably these scenes only move to pronounce the other, slower scenes more and we are left wondering what could have been made of the rest of the film if it had been handled with such vigour and clarity. Fassbender and Gleeson will walk away from this with their broad shoulders still proud, and director Smith has clear potential. Let’s just hope for better next time.

Special features:

  • Blood Bonds: On the set of Trespass Against Us
  • Heartfelt: Director Adam Smith on The Chemical Brothers

Film: 2/5
Extras: 2/5

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