VOD film review: Trespass Against Us
James R | On 09, Jul 2017
Director: Adam Smith
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson
Watch Trespass Against Us online in the UK: All 4 / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson. Two of the finest actors working today, the chance to see a film with both of them should never be passed up. Unless, that is, the film is Trespass Against Us.
The indie drama follows the Cutler family, a clan of travellers who live on the outskirts of Cotswolds society. Three generations all in one trailer park, the children spend their days causing trouble in class, their granddad, Colby, spends his nights stealing things and ruling over the roost with a stern influence. In between, their parents spend every hour they can trying to keep the two apart.
Gleeson is wonderfully imperious as the patriarch, intimidating his son and grandkids alike with a stubborn immorality that bludgeons his enemies as bluntly as his wilful ignorance – this is the only film you’ll see this year in which someone argues that the world is flat. Fassbender is equally charismatic as his well-meaning descendant, Chad, who knows his own lack of intelligence and wants his children to have an education, no matter how much Colby tries to take them out of school.
That, in itself, could make for a promising drama, but Trespass Against Us can’t just have its daily bread: it wants to eat all the other breads too. And so we’re drawn into the criminal world Chad is trying to escape, as Colby commands him to carry out the proverbial one-last-job – sneak into a local mansion and grab what loot he can. Debut director Adam Smith directs the resulting car chase with some aplomb, while Rory Kinnear is as reliable as ever as a local policeman determined to catch the Cutlers in the act, but the diversion into heist territory only reinforces the uneven tone that permeates the whole film.
Are we meant to be laughing with these characters? Feeling sorry for them? Cheering them on? Celebrating their way of life? Wishing them to do better? The script can never quite decide, veering wildly from heated macho confrontations to a sentimental climax in a tree that could have been ripped straight out of a Disney movie. The result is an undercooked crime drama and an underdeveloped family tale, giving us nothing to engage with in either – the accents have more substance than any narrative or character on offer. By the time Chad and his son have a heart-to-heart, it feels too cheesy to be meaningful and too shallow to be memorable. A missed opportunity for all the talent involved, Trespass Against Us is almost worth watching for Fassbender and Gleeson alone – but you’ll just end up praying they reunite on a better film.
Trespass Against Us is available on All 4 until 26th November 2021.
Where can I buy or rent Trespass Against Us online in the UK?
Photo: Lionsgate / Nicola Dove