Fans of Michael Fassbender know that any movie they see him in, he is fully committed and brings an intensity that rivals most of his contemporaries in terms of consistency and quality of performance. The latest performance from Fassbender is “Trespass Against Us” in which he plays a family man who lives in a rural community on the outskirts of Irish societal living. He has been sucked into the ever-tempting crime world at the hand of his father (Brendan Gleeson) but comes to a crossroads when it threatens to tear him away from his family. While “Trespass Against Us” offers a lot in the way of fresh storytelling, it’s a bit tonally off and inconsistent, which may keep audiences from praising it, or hesitant to check it out in the first place. But if you love indie dramas that have a little bit of everything and are a fan of Fassbender, it might be worth your time.
“Trespass Against Us” is largely a movie about a father, Chad Cutler (Fassbender), living a life of crime that involves petty thievery and pursuits from the cops, which plays like good fun. Living on the outskirts of society past the forest that divides the town, where campers and children’s toys litter the area, he and his family live spiteful of the cops, much under the leadership of his “ex”-criminal father, Colby (Gleeson), who proudly states to his grandson the need to defend oneself by those who “trespass against us.” But when a heist goes wrong, turning a playful cat and mouse game between Chad and the police into a personal mission to jail him, Chad’s life choices catch up with him and threatens the safety and unity of his family.
It dips into a few different genres and it takes a while to unfurl, and even then, this drama really is a bit all over the place. While it’s a rich and well-fleshed out story, Fassbender’s character is connected to too many different characters. Between the relationship with his father (their shared scenes are powerful and gripping enough to wonder what an even more simplified version of this drama between them would’ve been like), the police, his wife, and that with his young son, the drama is scattered and the emotion is lost. In some ways, its story is more closely connected to “The Place Beyond the Pines,” in its portrayal of a father who seeks to provide better for his family in the only way he knows how– through criminal activity. He causes mayhem against society and breaks its rules, but returns home to provide for his family.
“Trespass Against Us” shines as a family drama that feels authentic with real life struggles that teeter between collapse and finding peace. While the film is comprised of individually great scenes, it fails to make an overall gripping story and could have included more cinematic textures to add a little meat to the film’s bare-bones.