Director: Adam Smith
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
A multi-generational family of criminals has many conflicts, especially those between the persistent patriarch (Brendan Gleeson) and his eldest son (Michael Fassbender), who wants out of the lifestyle, but is unable to leave because of the commanding presence of his father.
"Trespass Against Us" is a familial drama by Adam Smith in his feature film debut, and is written by Alastair Siddons. It stars Michael Fassbender as Chad Cutler, the eldest son of a criminal family run by his father Colby Cutler, played by Brendan Gleeson. The Cutler family lives a somewhat nomadic lifestyle in a fleet of caravans in a clearing near the woods in Britain. They make camp for a time, and if the heat on them ever gets to be too much, they break camp and move on, but always stay together as a group. Chad is under a lot of pressure from his wife Kelly, played Lyndsey Marshal, to leave the burdensome, dangerous life to which he is accustomed behind them so they can set up real roots for their kids to have a better life. Chad is ready to get out as well, but is afraid to confront his father over the matter because if he crosses him, it could be very bad business for Chad and his family.
This movie is not just an examination of the lifestyle and relationships of this one family, but really speaks to a bigger issue of generational familial bonds and breaking the circle so to speak. The Cutler's are a heavily religious bunch, adorning crosses around their necks and walls like birthmarks. Colby goes as far as claiming the world is flat and that evolution is a bunch of bollocks when pressed by his grandson about the matter. He espouses the Ten Commandments, despite the fact his family breaks these sacred rules on the regular. Chad is not a learned man and never went to school in order to maintain a presence in the family. He often calls things the wrong names and adds unnecessary letters to already established words, but is rarely corrected by others as the eldest son. He wants a better life for his kids. Chad and Kelly have them in a good school where they may be behind, but at least they are attending. They clearly love one another to pieces, but Kelly is obviously fed up with Colby's command over her beloved husband and strained because she wants him to stop his life of crime before he ends up like his brother, who is already in jail serving a "10."
Michael Fassbender offers a wonderful performance as this conflicted character. Though he is the prettiest, least dirty of his lot, he preforms his role with such a passion and conviction, it makes little difference. Brendan Gleeson is equally if not even more brilliant as domineering Cutler patriarch, doling out jobs and never accepting any answer other than "yes." Gleeson and Fassbender not only play off of one another incredibly well, but have such an intense, conflicted relationship, it's as if they truly were father and son. This is a movie all about characters and their personal conflicts, so it is mostly carried on the backs of the actors since there is no real plot to fall back on other than a simple family drama.
While stories like this are a dime a dozen, "Trespass Against Us" offers excellent acting from a dynamic, odd family of characters with many compelling moments of excitement and intrigue. It also has a lot of interesting camera work and captivating visuals, plus some instances of levity and humor to break up all of the tension and burglarizing. Though the pacing is very, very slow and the story is as simple as can be, it's still a solid crime drama that may not see any Oscar buzz, but is still worth checking out for the chemistry between Gleeson and Fassbender alone.
My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 55%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?