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Review: Trespass Against Us

Trespass Against Us
01.16.2017
7 10

PLOT: The heir (Michael Fassbender) to a close-knit community of small-time criminals, tries to break free from the influence of his father (Brendan Gleeson).

REVIEW: TRESPASS AGAINST US is unusual for a crime drama. Despite some familiar trappings of the genre, most notably a series of kinetic car chases, the emphasis of the film is significantly weighed towards the day-to-day life of Michael Fassbender’s Chad. An illiterate, small-time crook, he serves his father, Colby (Brendan Gleeson), who lords over a trailer park community devoted to pulling-off small-time scams. His dad is a charismatic cross between a crime boss and a preacher, and is hellbent on his son taking over the family business.

All this doesn’t sit well with Chad. While he likes the thrill of a chase and, having no schooling whatsoever, is aware that some kind of small-time crookery will always be his reality, he rebels by sending his kids to school and has a headstrong wife (Lyndsey Marshal) who’s pushing for the family to get away.

Fassbender is an odd choice for the lead. Rather well-coiffed, he has to play a tougher sort of character than he usually does. While he’s initially a little hard to swallow as Gleeson’s son (although this is the second time they played father-and-son after ASSASSIN’S CREED), Fassbender quickly disappears into what’s a much lower-key, earthier part than usual. While usually at his best playing more sordid types, he does a good job evoking a kind family man, even if he’s one with a thuggish streak, memorably depicted in a moment where he humiliates the community’s black sheep (Sean Harris) in front of everyone.

By contrast, Gleeson seems ideally cast. He has the charisma to pull it off, but also evokes the simple nature of the man, who, like Fassbender, is a victim of his own upbringing. He harbors a weird religious fervor, and thinks ripping people off is totally fine, although he’s too small-minded to realize his grander criminal schemes, which involves a major art-heist he sends his son to pull off, will destroy their community.

It’s really the father-son dynamic, both between Gleeson and Fassbender, as well as the latter and his own young son that’s TRESPASS AGAINST US’s main focus. Action fans may be disappointed in the lack of conventional shenanigans, although director Adam Smith has a knack for chases, with a score by The Chemical Bros kicking into high gear anytime Fassbender gets behind the wheel. Rather, it’s almost more like a Mike Leigh movie, emphasizing the family’s existence, with the ultimate conclusion being unpredictable as far as crime dramas go.

In the end, TRESPASS AGAINST US is probably too low-key to ever make a huge impression, but with A24 giving it a DirectTV/modest theatrical launch similar to their last Fassbender vehicle, SLOW WEST, it’s a good option for a slow, late-January weekend in theaters. The acting is good and the staging is atypical, making it a somewhat fresh addition to the genre.

Source: JoBlo.com

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