The high-speed police chases, which cut
through the rolling countryside and isolated towns as Chad (Michael Fassbender)
and his traveller-companions duck and dodge the coppers, suggests a kind
of South-Westerly version of Bullitt (just paint the San-Francisco hills
green and give everyone a West-country lilt).
The absurd and eternal frustration of P.C. Lovage (Rory
Kinnear) in bringing a family of travellers to justice for one ambitious
burglary in particular, offers a backdrop to an entirely different set of
dramatic issues. The travelling community in Trespass Against Us depends very
much on family autocratic family values,
and Chad's father Col Cutler (Brendan Gleeson), as grandfather and head of the family, rules
the roost with a firm hand.
It's when Chad begins to look
outside the community, for the benefit of his own family, that father/son rivalry
is brought right to the forefront of the drama. Chad's
young lad Tyson (Georgie Smith) is caught in the midst of clashing
ideologies, without the age and maturity to think for himself. Despite
Chad's ambitious parenting – teaching his son how to chase rabbits across fields
in an estate-wagon, for example – it's painful to watch as he struggles to keep a
grip on the boy in the face of Col's unrelenting gift-of-the-gab and alluring-but-parochial wisdom.
Michael Fassbender - Trespass Against Us
While there are harsh and sometimes violent
differences between Chad and his father, the relationships are rarely painted
as anything but truly loving. This is the greatest strength of Alastair
Siddon's script: to question with tremendous subtlety how far a family's loving
bond can be stretched. The casting of Gleeson and Fassbender is exceptionally
successful: to watch these two convey the vicissitudes of a tense father/son
relationship with a uniquely bittersweet pathos is a gift of contemporary
cinema. Lyndsey Marshall plays Chad's wife Kelly and delivers perfectly on the
desperation of a woman struggling to keep the family functional while looking
out for her children's future.
The story certainly offers a great deal of
thematic weight. All this family drama is portrayed within the context of a
community of self-imposed pariahs desperately out of touch with society. It's a
shame, then, that the criminality thread of the narrative is somewhat lacking in
depth. Little effort is made to explain the decision for the family to resort
to crime, and Kinnear is such a magnetic portrayal of the exasperated
small-town cop that it's frustrating not to see more of him.
Trespass Against Us, much like that famous chase scene in Bullitt, is
choreographed expertly, with drama and comedy placed perfectly throughout. But
at its heart this is a beautifully tender story of internal family struggle,
and a hugely promising debut from director Adam Smith.
|What||Trespass Against Us film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
03 Mar 17 – 03 May 17, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|