‘Trespass Against Us’ is director Adam Smith’s film debut, having previously worked on shows such as ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Skins’, as well as his well-received 2012 documentary ‘The Chemical Brothers: Don’t Think’. Smith has done a cracking job with this film, and as far as debuts go, it’s a pretty promising start.
Three generations of the Cutler family reside in a beautiful plot of British countryside. Chad Cutley (Michael Fassbender) is a family man, living with his wife and 2 children in their little caravan. It’s immediately clear to the audience that Chad’s father, Colby (Brendan Gleeson), is the head of this family, and the ring leader of their criminal activities. After some close brushes with the law, Chad decides it’s time for him to call it a day being his father’s little errand boy and move his family away so his children can focus on school and get the education that he never had. Chad’s wife, Kelly (Lyndsey Marshal), is close to breaking point living under Colby’s rule, which is a constant strain on her marriage. Colby’s outlook on life and his uneducated ramblings are also a cause for concern for Kelly as her two young children look up to their grandad. Colby can sense that the power he once held over his son is slowly slipping away, so he takes it upon himself to make sure the Cutler clan stay together.
Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson were a major selling point to me when I saw this trailer for the first time because both are incredible actors with some brilliant films under their belts. The trailer didn’t beat around the bush about the story, it showed Gleeson’s character as a family man and father figure to those around him, but it also showed his darker, more abusive side when his son tries to stand up to him. ‘Try’ being the operative word. Fassbender delivers another belter of a performance, he portrays Chad’s struggle to stand up to his father brilliantly and you can see how much hatred he harbours for him, coupled with the struggle to stand by his loyal and family-orientated nature. He reluctantly does as he’s told but you can tell by his subtle mannerisms and facial expressions that it’s eating him up inside that he’s actually still running around at the click of his fathers fingers.
I also have to commend Georgie Smith on his brilliant performance as Chad’s son, Tyson. Tyson is young and easily influenced by his surroundings, which is very worrying for his mother. He’s very vocal about how much he hates school and wants to go on these ‘jobs’ with his dad and family, another reason Chad is desperate to move his family away from his controlling father.
The film flowed quite nicely, despite its often drastic change in scenes, for example all will be calm and quiet for the Cutler family, giving off a really nice family vibe and then something will happen that send the family into a swearing frenzy that leads to the exchanging of fists. It’s this change in atmosphere and pace that keeps you gripped through the film. I think there were one or two missed opportunities in the script to truly show the strained nature of the family’s relationships with one another, with the odd 1 or 2 scenes feeling like it was missing that extra bit of dialogue to really close it off. There are a handful of other Cutler family members who get some screen time, mostly during the criminal activity scenes, but we never learn that much about them or how their relationship is with Chad or Colby, which is a shame.
I can’t praise The Chemical Brothers enough for the amazing soundtrack! The music in the trailer was superb and I downloaded the song straight after hearing it for the first time. It’s something a little different but somehow very fitting to the mood and the atmosphere of the film. Whether the scene was a car chase, heartfelt family moment, or somewhere in between, the soundtrack fit nicely in each scene and never felt out of place or unnecessary.
Despite its mixed reviews elsewhere, ‘Trespass Against Us’ is a brilliant family orientated crime thriller. It’s the family aspect of the film that I really think is its strongest point, as this family of travellers aren’t your stereotypical crime thriller leads. Watching the tension in the families relationship start to boil and bubble over is gripping viewing as you don’t know what any of the characters will do next. During some scenes you expect a huge outburst when there is none, and vice versa. It is 99 minutes of gripping performances from its leads and their character’s unpredictable nature.
Director: Adam Smith
Writer: Alastair Siddons
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson, Lyndsey Marshal, Rory Kinnear, Sean Harris