Fassbender shines in a movie that never hits the mark with the potential it possesses.
Michael Fassbender is a home-grown talent whose repertoire of films is a testament to an actor who is never afraid to return to his roots and buck the trend, waltzing from blockbuster movies back to those hard-hitting British dramas our country has become so famous for. For every X-Men money-spinner there is a hard-hitting Shame, and sticking true to form, Fassbender returns with a Film4 drama in the form of Adam Smith’s Trespass Against Us.
Chad (Fassbender) is part of a traveller family whose livelihood depends on his family carrying out dangerous robberies constantly under the watchful eye of the police. Living in his caravan with his son and daughter, as well as his partner Kelly (Lyndsey Marshal), Chad is looking for a way out and a fresh start with his family, away from the strains of his strongly opinionated father, Colby (Brendan Gleeson).
But while Chad begins to look for a new place to live, the stakes get higher with more daring robberies and Colby slowly tightens his grip on his son and starts to tighten his grip on the one person on the campsite he knows he truly needs around. Will Chad ultimately take the big step away from his father or will he be forced to stay within this dangerous community?
Trespass Against Us is a British drama that shares many familiarities with properties of the past, presenting once again that trademark British grit and humanity that makes this country’s contribution to cinema so unique. In this case, it is both an advantage and a hinderance for a film that possesses the ideas but yet manages to falter when it is ready to produce the goods.
Where the film excels is in its lead performances, coming from the ever-reliable talents of both Brendan Gleeson and Michael Fassbender. Gleeson’s Colby is the typical authoritarian father figure, throwing his opinions around as much as his weight and solidifying that all-important level of dislike from the audience that helps to bolster our support for Fassbender’s Chad. Chad, while often shouting profanities at his children and breaking the law, is a character who builds a solid support from us, helped along wonderfully by the brilliance of Fassbender. While often a tough figure on the exterior, Fassbender brings a great level of vulnerability to Chad and instils the sense of a man desperately looking to do well by his family.
Sadly, despite these superb performances, Trespass Against Us does let us down slightly in its furthering of the core story. The setup is all there; the story of a man ready to exit his life of crime and start anew, with only the might of his father standing in the way, but where the story slowly comes to a head it does in fact feel rather flat and without the all-important striking conclusion that one would expect. Instead, the film trudges along to its ultimate conclusion and instead results in a flat, uninspiring and sadly unemotional closure.
A film that is undoubtedly strengthened by its leading men, Trespass Against Us is an entertaining enough British drama but it leaves a sour taste with its uninspiring final third.
Trespass Against us is out now on DVD and Blu-ray.