Trespass Against Us: A Review

Trespass Against Us, which comes out early 2017 in the UK, screened at the BFI London FIlm Festival on 15 October, followed by a Q&A with Director Adam Smith, Writer Alastair Siddons and Star Michael Fassbender.

The Premise

Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) along with his wife Kelly (Lyndsey Marshal) and their two children are part of a family of travellers. This small, close-knit community live together in trailers and among them is Chad’s father, Colby Cutler (Brendan Gleeson). 

The Cutlers survive by breaking the law. Theft and robbery is their MO. However, Chad’s hope is to move his family from the dangerous environment they currently live in so they can go to school, an opportunity he never had.

Chad sees and opportunity to move to a safer community and agrees to his potential new land lord that he will stay our of trouble and keep is father, the ring leader, away.

That night, Colby needs Chad for a job, which he agrees to out of fear for his son and obligation to his father and family. This job, however, might see the end of Chad’s lucky escapes from the law.

Trespass Against Us is a slice-of-life movie that has a rich and deeply realistic insight into lives that aren’t often seen in cinema.

My Thoughts

Admittedly, at first, the dialect annoyed me slightly, but let’s just put this down to middle-class-London prejudice, because the writing was fantastic. Both the dialogue and the action sequences were smooth, fast paced and, at times, very funny.

The direction was also superb, the way that the high-speed police chase scenes were cut with small moments of realism (like Fassbender lighting a cigarette or hiding in a bush) made the action sequences much more realistic than a Fast & Furious style chase.

Saying that Fassbender was outstanding is like saying thunder comes after lightning – I expected it, but am still slightly awed by it. Fassbender and Gleeson manage to somehow both put forth great performances and not outshine each other. Although Gleeson’s character was somewhat the ‘bad guy’ the movie had a feel of no one is the bad guy, everyone is just trying to get through life the way they know how feel, and I like that.

Slice of life movies always appeal to me and this one is no exception, it had that slight roughness that British movies sometimes have along with the stella performances and well-timed humour and emotion. A stark contrast with Captain Fantastic, which I saw a few weeks ago, Fassbender’s portrayal of a protective father was both realistic and heartbreaking (as opposed to unrealistic and slightly annoying.)

Put this movie in your diary for 2017.

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The Q & A

Some Q & As certainly add something to the cinematic experience. Unfortunately, I think this one did not. I think the shock of the surprise guest (Fassbender) sent most of the audience into a trance and the questions that were asked (with the exception of a few) were largely directed at him.

The one thing I did find interesting was the discussion on the children in the film. Tyson Cutler, Fassbender’s son (aged 9) , is played by a kid called Georgie Smith. Smith’s role in the movie is important, as Fassbender doesn’t want his son to end up like him: an illiterate criminal. So choosing the right child to play Tyson (and Mini, the daughter, who is played by Kacie Anderson) must have been a tough job. Adam Smith and Alastair Siddons recounted a story in which, when they were looking to cast Tyson, Georgie Smith kicked them both in the leg – and they knew they had found their kid. Tyson’s character swears a lot, he screams and cries and kicks and drives a car, he is a kid whose father may end up in jail – he is a rebellious child who will have to learn about reality fast – and it was interesting to hear the writer and director talking about how to cast a 9-year-old.

I wish I could be one of those people who comes up with questions at these Q&A sessions, but they always come too late, especially for writers. Things like, where did this idea begin? How did you start putting pen on paper? What kind of research did you do? Did you envision Fassbender and Gleeson in the roles? So many questions…which is definately the mark of a good movie.


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