Smith’s film, Trespass Against Us, follows the unconventional lives of father and son, Colby and Chad Cutler: criminals who exist in a world divorced from mainstream society and the confines of the law. Set in a tight-knit traveler community in rural England, wherein family is paramount, this film focuses on the tension between the opposing desires, beliefs and ambitions of father and son.
As the title suggests, it is a film concerned with acts of unity, rebellion against authority, and nonconformity. Brendan Gleeson is reliably sound as Colby, the patriarchal authority figure. He opposes formal education, believes that the world is flat, and enforces his own moral code on the community. Chad, played by Michael Fassbender, is subject to his father’s will and as such is forced to reluctantly carry out robberies and provocative acts against the police.
Repeatedly, our attention is brought to Chad’s alternative ambitions for a better life for his wife and young children. Fassbender is credible in his portrayal of a loving yet conflicted father. His efforts to protect and better his family provide much needed emotional poignancy amongst loud action sequences.
Other than this strong leading cast, Adam Smith’s feature directorial debut is somewhat disappointing. Above all, the fast-paced police chases seem repetitive and bland, and do not seem to lead the film anywhere. There is little character development throughout the film, and we are left merely watching the predictable continuation of a relationship dynamic between Chad, Colby and the rest of the community that is presented to us in the initial scenes.
Ultimately, this film lacks depth. With an almost non-existent progression of the familial conflict, it feels somewhat stagnant and superficial. Unfortunately, it fails to achieve any real momentous insight or intensity and, as such, falls short of gaining the status of something memorable.
Image: Mario Antonio Pena Zapateria