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Review: Trespass Against Us

January 27, 2017

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

trespass-against-us-posterChad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) lives with his wife (Lyndsey Marshal) and their two young kids in the same trailer park as his father Cal (Brendan Gleeson), a notorious crime boss who doesn’t want his son to stray from the family business.

Chad is desperate to break away from a life of crime and go clean, not wanting his son to grow up like him, but Cal is keeping him under his iron grip, and sends him out for one last heist that brings their conflicts with the law to a head.

Although Trespass Against Us is one of those small indies that is only really getting an audience because of its headlining actors, and the story often follows familiar tropes from other tales of men struggling to break free from poverty and their crooked fathers, the good cast keeps things pretty entertaining.

Michael Fassbender turns in a typically committed performance in the leading role, doing an excellent job of making us feel sympathy for Chad, a man who is illiterate and struggles with the fact that he has no formal education, finding it nearly impossible to escape the life he was born into.  Brendan Gleeson, in a type of role he excels at playing, does memorably off-kilter supporting work as the religious zealot father who has a penchant for speechifying.

With a background doing music videos for The Chemical Brothers, who provide a propulsive score here, first time feature director Adam Smith does a fine job of handling the film’s somewhat strange mix of tones.  The film’s narrative is constantly switching between dramatic scenes and the more unexpected comedic moments, as well as working in several exciting car chase sequences that are allowed to have a delightfully humourous feel.

Although these sharp juxtapositions sometimes feel off, and the multiple and arguably gratuitous animal deaths depicted in the film will automatically turn some viewers off, Trespass Against Us has enough going for it to be worthwhile for fans of the actors.  With the emotional anchor of a family drama and the feel of a crime caper, the film is often fun to watch, building towards an oddly kind of sweet final scene.

Trespass Against Us is now playing in limited release at Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas in Toronto, and in other selected cities across Canada.

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