Trespass Against Us Blu-ray Review

Trespass Against Us

Trespass Against Us is the second film this year in which Brendan Gleeson and Michael Fassbender play father and son.

As the first film was Assassin’s Creed, is it a case of second time lucky?

In Adam Smith’s drama, Fassbender plays Chad: father, husband and heir to the notorious Cutler dynasty.

The Cutlers, a group of travellers, are outlaws living on the fringe of society, doing what they need to do to get by.

Gleeson is Colby, head of the group and Chad’s father. The two seem to have a bond, but one of constraint as much as closeness.

Chad is having second thoughts about the life he wants for his wife and young children and is looking for a way out, though knows that his father will not approve.

Meanwhile, Colby approaches Chad with his latest scheme: burglary of a local mansion. Chad is reluctant to participate but ultimately goes along with it. However, the fall-out from the crime is more extreme than he could have ever imagined.

The impressive score by Tom Rowlands aside, there is one big draw here: the onscreen pairing of Gleeson and Fassbender.

In this regard, the film does not disappoint. Fassbender plays Chad as a mixture of leader-in-waiting and browbeaten son. Gleeson meanwhile exudes the right mix of warm paternalism and fearsome oppression. Their scenes together are electric.

I am going to be honest and say that, for two of the biggest and best Irish actors of their respective generations to be sporting west-country accents, I found it a little jarring. The accents are not bad by any means, but a tad distracting at first.

Hey, you get used to it.

The supporting cast, featuring a welcome mix of ‘hey, wasn’t he in Shameless?’ and ‘oh, it’s that guy from Love/Hate’, also boasts the impressive likes of Rory Kinnear and Sean Harris.

That said, Kinnear, as the Cutlers’ would-be nemesis, feels a bit underused. And, as strong as the main performances are, there are issues with the characters.

The female characters are sidelined in favour of the male-bloodline theme, and overall it is difficult to know who to identify with.

Chad seems like the hero, in loose terms, in his desire to provide a better life for his family, but is anchored by the life of petty crime and conflict in which his father has firmly indoctrinated him. So, when Chad mistreats Sean Harris’ mentally challenged ‘Wurzel’, it may feel understandable yet is still reprehensible.

The film does not work on the level of socio-political commentary either. The Cutlers, depicted mostly as loveable rogues, are not the victims of police prejudice. Their persecution is directly linked here to incidents of ram-raiding, theft, joy riding and killing a dog.

In the absence of rooting its characters or knowing what point it wants to make, the film then comes to a confusing and abrupt stop.

Worth watching for the Fassbender-Gleeson pairing, but otherwise there is little here to raise this film above average crime fare.

Conor Brennan

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Dates ‘n stuff

July 2017