Hot off the back of the truly awful Assassin’s Creed, Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson team up once again. They must do better this time around, surely.
Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) is a member of a criminal family of travellers living in a ramshackle community somewhere in the West Country. However, Chad is trying to escape the influence of his father Colby (Brendan Gleeson) to give his family a safer and less violent life.
Colby is an extremely religious man who rules the family with an iron fist, acting as a leader in both body and spirit. His proclamations of creationism grate with Chad and his wish for his children to be educated, unlike himself. This conflict is what drives most of the plot of Trespass Against Us, with Chad’s son Tyson (Georgie Smith) usually being caught in the middle.
The dynamic between Fassbender and Gleeson’s characters is the highpoint of the film by far, with both actors putting in solid performances, even managing to hold their thick accents throughout. Together they build a believable, if not a slightly frosty, father-son relationship.
Fassbender is possibly the hardest working actor in Hollywood, with eleven credits since his Oscar-nominated role in 12 Years A Slave and so far, he hasn’t disappointed.
In Trespass Against Us he proves once again his range, being able to disappear into any character in blockbusters and independent films alike. Although bringing his characteristic confidence to Chad, he also shows a softer side to what could otherwise be just another criminal hard man.
The film is also a surprisingly slow burn for what paints itself to be a crime drama
Gleeson’s Colby is both caring and sinister as the patriarch of the Cutler family, at one point screaming at a police officer ‘Hell hath no fury like a locked-up super goat.’ He uses his deep religious beliefs to reiterate his role as the head of the family, even convincing them that the Earth is flat.
Despite this, Trespass Against Us is never able to differentiate itself from other films in the genre. The travelling community is shown as nothing more than a mish mash of different stereotypes and caricatures. Chad’s family are not given adequate room to develop and end up feeling like props – rather than a part of the greater narrative.
— Trespass Against Us (@TrespassMov) January 18, 2017
The film is also a surprisingly slow burn for what paints itself to be a crime drama. There is only one real scene of action and instead the film decides to focus on unpicking its characters. Unfortunately, they aren’t as interesting as the film thinks they are.
After this slow build, the finale feels out of place, as if it has been plucked from a completely different film. It tries to bring about a neat ending but ends up leaving the film on an awkwardly upbeat note.
Trespass Against Us tries its best to reconcile all of its ideas into a coherent whole, but unfortunately it comes off as simply passable. Here’s hoping Fassbender and Gleeson get one more shot at greatness together, because they definitely deserve it.
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