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Not the Boss of Me

Trespass Against Us

by George Wolf

Two great actors going toe to toe. Trespass Against Us may be a strangely unfocused crime drama/comedy, but it does bring Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson together, and that’s far from criminal.

Gleeson is Colby “Cole” Cutler, who heads a family band of tramps and thieves camped in the British countryside and committed to a life of robbing the wealthy while taunting the police. Fassbender is Chad Cutler, the eldest son looking for a way out. Like everyone else, Chad is scared to confront his old man, but as his own son is becoming a young man, Chad begins secretly plotting a path that might give his boy the chance at a different life.

In this narrative feature debut for both director Adam Smith and screenwriter Alastair Siddons, familiar themes are brought to the surface without giving the fine ensemble cast enough ammunition to make any meaningful statement. In fact, it’s hard to pin down the purpose for any particular course the film takes, other than generating a respectful shoulder shrug.

Chad’s wife Kelly (a terrific Lyndsey Marshall) is tired of waiting for her husband to make his move, and though we see both tension and affection throughout the extended family, the film never really breaks from a bystander’s point of view. These are clearly complicated relationships with loyalties that have shifted over the years, but they’re all kept at arm’s length, rendering Trespass Against Us a well-performed curiosity.