Following a close knit traveller community, ‘Trespass Against Us’ is an intimate character driven story that doesn’t always deliver and it does take a while to warm to the law breaking character of Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) and his family but the interesting character dynamics between Chad and his father Colby (Brendan Gleeson) is what drives this film and ultimately elevates it from an otherwise good, but not great, film.
The story follows family man Chad as he looks to find a way to escape with his family out of the criminal undertakings handled by his father, Colby, who runs the entire traveller community. The increasingly risky cat and mouse game with the police is a great anchor for the uneasy loyalty Chad holds toward his father but the film unfortunately ends on a whimper rather than an implosion with the family that it feels like it was always driving toward.
The characters themselves are what drive this film though and seeing Fassbender opposite Gleeson is actually the highlight of this film. Their acting is in fine display here; the glances of contempt from Chad toward his father about whether to stand up to his Father or not is incredibly powerful. The rest of the cast do an equally good job here though and the raw power of their performances and the intelligently written script combine to produce a decent drama.
I just wish the ending had more power. Whilst Chad’s character comes full circle, the untapped potential of a family imploding into a kind of civil war is teased but never realized to frustrating degree. By the end of the film, it does feel like its done a full circle on itself which leaves you wondering what the point of the whole conflict was. Besides Chad’s character coming to acceptance for what he’s done, the other characters don’t really change. Whilst I won’t give any plot points away, this was the biggest reason this film hasn’t achieved a higher score for me.
Overall then ‘Trespass Against Us’ is a good crime based drama with some excellent acting and a good character driven plot. The ending lets it down and the actual plot itself doesn’t feel like it goes anywhere – the characters do go on an emotional journey but apart from Chad, they don’t seem to have grown in any way by the end, especially Colby. I would recommend this film though as Fassbender and Gleeson are simply sublime and the gritty realism of the Traveller community is treated with respect and there’s a lot to like, it’s just a pity that the climax doesn’t give a more satisfying end to the family turmoil.