TIFF 2016: Trespass Against Us Review

Special Presentations

Hey you know that crime thing? Turns out it doesn’t pay. You may have heard this before and if you go to see Trespass Against Us, you’ll hear it again. Yep, it’s another outlaw movie, of the British variety. Admittedly this one has a slightly different milieu for that particular theme. It’s set amongst a family of caravan outlaws who live on the outskirts of the towns they rob blind until they pick up and find the next geographic victim. The movie certainly has some high notes, but it all just feels a little too familiar.

The head of the caravan clan is Brendan Gleeson doing his wizened dirtbag thing well. The star of the gang is his son Michael Fassbender, who never even learned to read during his childhood of crime. He’s a hell of a getaway driver though and is trying to be a good father by forcing his kids into school. Unfortunately the family business brings trouble and their latest robbery causes the whole house of cards to collapse when the cops start questioning those very kids.

Music video director Adam Smith creates a nice hangout tone for his first feature. The characters are as lovable as they are despicable and the central robbery/chase sequence is well staged. Ultimately, the movie doesn’t have many interesting places to go once the old family/gang themes are trotted out yet again. Sure, it’s all well acted and shot but the narrative engine feels broken. Despite some sweet and exciting moments throughout, the movie ultimately just doesn’t add up to more than the sum of its charming parts. The whole thing is coasting on past movies with nowhere to go. The actors try and Gleeson does well, but Fassbender is perhaps a little too smart and charismatic to play what should have been a sad and dumb failure at the end of his rope.

Something about the movie never quite clicks like it should even if it’s fun in the moment. 


Friday, September 9, 10pm, Princess Of Wales

Saturday, September 10, 11:45am, Hot Docs