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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 12.07.16] United Kingdom thriller drama crime

Movies about crime families usually fall into two categories: power struggles between fathers (and occasionally mothers as is the case in Animal Kingdom) and kids for control or stories of families banding together to save either the family name or one member in particular. Trespass Against Us is a little bit of both.

Brendan Gleeson stars as Colby Cutler, the patriarch of a family of outlaws living in a makeshift trailer camp outside of town. The family isn't strictly blood relations but a mix of children and friends Colby has banded together over the years. Among them is Chad Cutler, Colby's youngest son who shares a trailer with his wife and two kids. The family business is heists and Chad is the wheelman but he's had enough of the criminal life and is looking for a way out but getting away from his overpowering father is proving difficult. Things go from bad to worse when dad sends the boys on a heist that brings the police, who are always sniffing around as it is, to their front door.

A director at the beginning of his or her career would be thrilled to have any one of the likes of Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson, Rory Kinnear or Sean Harris but Adam Smith has all of them and the result is pretty spectacular. Though the set up of Trespass Against Us isn't new, the quality of the acting raises the quality of film from middle of the road thriller to must-see acting showcase.

Fassbender and Gleeson are wonderful to watch as father and son and their sparring sessions are memorable long after the credits roll. They make it look easy and the undercurrent of hatred and love comes through in their performances, particularly during quieter moments when the pair are talking about inconsequential matters, is spectacular. There are also the great supporting performances from Kinnear as the hard nosed cop determined to quell the crime family, Harris (always one to bury himself deep into a character) as Colby's crazy adopted son Gordon and Lyndsey Marshal who brings a touch of motherhood to the proceedings in the role of Chad's wife not to mention the voice of reason in the film.

I love the opening chase sequence and Smith shows he has a great knack for capturing action throughout but what I love most about Trespass Against Us are the dramatic moments, be they between Colby and Chad, Chad and his wife Kelly or best of all, the moments Chad shares with his son Tyson in an effort to impart knowledge that will make him a better man than both himself and his father.

Trespass Against Us is a pretty good criminal yarn but it's a better exploration of what it means to be a man and the sacrifices one makes for family. The movie is elevated further by a talented group of actors at peak performance.

Trespass Against Us is now available on DirectTV and opens theatrically on January 20.

Recommended Release: Animal Kingdom

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