I enjoy a good crime thriller, a heist or heist-gone-awry story, and when combined with a good character drama, it makes for enjoyable entertainment.
Given the acting, the character drama and family tensions in Trespass Against Us, this film should have been hitting on all cylinders and been a wonderful story. It’s beautifully shot, the actors actually put some work into their character behaviors, and yet there’s a big piece missing from this story: an actual complete story.
There’s a generational tale, where a father (Brendan Gleeson) wants to pass on his way of life to his eldest son (Michael Fassbender), hoping to keep the tradition of traveling and theft going for a few more generations. But that son, Chad Cutler, has other ideas. He’s happily married with two young children, and he doesn’t want to continue that way of life, not for himself nor his kids. He wants his children to go to school and get an education and be better equipped for a bigger life beyond the nomadic lifestyle he’s trying to break out of.
But his father, Colby Cutler, believes that what’s good enough for him is more than good enough for everyone in his tribe, and he means to keep it that way, no matter the destruction or consequences for all involved.
By pulling Chad in as the getaway driver in a heist that turns out to be more of a problem than a solution, Colby succeeds in severing all chances Chad had at changing his life forever. Hunted and hounded by law enforcement, Chad has to choose between pulling up stakes and moving on with the camp, or making a different choice that will cement that change he wants for he and his kids.
I expected the real meat of the story to come after that choice was made, to see where things could go for them on this new path. Not necessarily to achieve the goal, but at least be headed towards it. But the movie just ends there, and leaves you wondering what was the point of the previous 90 minutes. Even the heist itself is anticlimactic, with no hints about why the house was important, or even what exactly was taken, and the getaway chase scene actually seems lifeless when compared to an earlier driving stunt.
For me, the main, major problem of the film as it stands is that it seems to be not much more than just a chapter in a larger story. It’s not a complete story, and as a moviegoer and a fan of good stories, I was left feeling terribly empty and mildly confused, waiting for more story that I wasn’t going to see because the screen went black and credits started to roll. It’s almost as if someone took a few chapters from the middle of a compelling literary novel, and left out the ending because art.
It’s almost comical, when one realizes that these two played father and son in Assassin’s Creed, and there was more gravitas and story in their one scene together than they had with each other during most of this movie.
The acting is good, the characters range from endearing to annoying, just as in real life, and the cinematography and the score (by the Chemical Brothers) are mesmerizing. But there’s no real story to wrap around the other elements, which makes everything fall apart at the end.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Trespass Against Us centers on three generations of the Cutler family, a close-knit clan of nomads living an outlaw existence in their own anarchic corner of Britain’s most affluent countryside. Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) is the heir apparent to the family patriarch, his bullying father Colby (Brendan Gleeson), and has been groomed to spend his life hunting, stealing and tormenting local law enforcement. But with his own son Tyson (Georgie Smith) coming of age and his wife Kelly (Lyndsey Marshal) pushing him to stand up to Colby, Chad finds himself locked in a battle for the future of his young family.
When Colby learns of Chad’s plans to make a new life outside the family’s encampment, he sets out to ensure that his son and grandson remain entrenched in the archaic order that has bound the Cutler family for generations. He puts Chad up to a spectacular heist that results in a high-speed car chase and manhunt, and marks Chad as a wanted man. With the law closing in and his father tightening his grip, Chad is forced to take increasingly desperate measures to protect his loved ones. Featuring incredible performances and an astonishing score by the Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowlands, Trespass Against Us is at once an exhilarating crime thriller and a profoundly moving story about love, loyalty and family.
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson, Sean Harris
Written & Directed by: