HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Trespass Against Us
HTS Overall Score:68
Have you ever seen the Johnny Depp movie about prolific schlock film maker Ed Wood? Ed Wood was notorious for creating Uwe Boll level schlock back in the 1950s, utilizing stock footage to make sci-fi, comedy, and horror films at a breakneck pace (the most famous of his being “Plan 9 from Outer Space”), and becoming a legend for how childish and slapdash his efforts were. Ed Wood even came forth and said he created his films as a child would. Basically whatever came to his mind, or how he felt about something dictated what his next movie would be about. The same seems to be said of first time feature film director Adam Smith’s “Trespass Against Us”. Everything seems to be structured to how “he felt” something should be. The protagonists live in a gypsy like trailer park? Sure, why not, even though there’s no explanation on why or how. Have a few car chases in the middle of the field? Why not, seems like a good idea. What about going all zany and crazy for no reason with a mentally challenged brother? Again, why in blazes not?!
“Trespass Against Us” came out of the Toronto Film Festival with overwhelming negative reviews. One of them even ranking it as “the worst movie I’ve ever seen”. Now, while I don’t think that “Trespass Against Us” is anywhere near the worst movie ever seen, I have serious questions in wondering HOW it was approved to screen at a prestigious film festival like the Toronto Film Festival? It’s trying to be gritty, but fails miserably, and tries to be warm and heartfelt as well, but suffers the same fate. Michael Fassbender and Brendon Gleeson are the big name pulls here, but what could have been an interesting drama is turned into a mishmash of film genres that just bounce from one idea to the next without ever stopping and creating something meaningful.
Michael Fassbender has come into his own the last decade, and for good reason. The man has an imposing presence and the ability to put forth a compelling character no matter the genre at hand. He’s known for making big blockbusters, but also veering into the indie crowd as well. I mean, he’s the man who wore a paper Mache mask in the goofy mumblecore film “Frank”, and played a sex addict as well in “Shame”. However, this goes beyond his normal indie work and no matter how much skill the man has, he can’t seem to make something out of a crime drama that that just doesn’t go anywhere.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=92953[/img]Chad Cutler (Fassbender) is part of a family crime syndicate, lorded over by the likeable, but highly flawed, patriarch Colby Cutler (Gleeson). They live out in the slums of some sort of gypsy style trailer park, where the rest of the extended family (also part of the crew) subside in their squalor. Amidst the off and on again heists that Colby gives the boys to make money, we see Chad struggle with the desire to get OUT of the criminal life. He seems to be a good enough guy, but he’s trapped inside his family with no way out. He’s got a wife and two young children, and both he and the missus want something better for their children. But there’s always the nagging fear that there’s nothing on the outside for an uneducated, lifelong thief besides misery and failure. Everything that he knows is right here in this trailer park.
Every effort that Chad expends to get out is also counterbalanced by Colby Cutler, who seems hell bent on keeping the family together, even if that means threatening and cajoling anyone that Chad comes in contact with in order to keep his son by his side. With the walls of the police closing in, and the walls of his family trapping Chad in-between both opposing forces, there just is no way for the criminal turned martyr to get out without ending up in the hoosegow.
As I said, there’s very little of anything interesting in “Trespass Against Us”. Director Adam Smith doesn’t seem to have a good grasp of feature film direction, allowing the film to bounce around from subject to subject with the attention span of a hyperactive middle schooler, landing wherever it may before going “ooh shiny!” and moving on to the next scene. Gleeson and Fassbender play pretty well together, and they are easily the highlights of the film, but that’s not saying a whole lot from a movie that just reeks of mismanagement.
Rated R for pervasive language, some disturbing behavior and brief graphic nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=92961[/img]It’s a miracle! A movie still shot on 35mm film! Well, probably the only miracle you’ll get out of this one. “Trespass Against Us” isn’t a fantastic film, but it certainly looks good on Blu-ray. The 35mm film source gives us a very lightly grainy image that boasts good contrast and some stellar looking fine detail. The English countryside is beautifully rendered, with sharp greens of the grass fields in the opening shot, to the bright red of the canisters being burned in the grungy encampment. There’s a little bit of softness going on as I noticed it’s not quite AS sharp as I might have hoped, but the fine detailing is nothing to sneeze at. Complexions are a bit on the ruddy side, with an ever so slight green and red tinge to the overall color grading. Blacks are deep and inky, but there are some cases of digital banding that do pop up from time to time.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=92969[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is quite satisfactory for home use. The dialog is strong and clean, although I did have a bit of trouble with the heavy accents. Especially Gleeson’s and Sean Harris (no fault of the encode, just my American ears). The track is a bit front heavy for a lot of the run time, but opens up a good bit when the police make their debut, or when the crew rams into the side of a rich house in a robbery attempt. Bass can be quite punchy and powerful, taking aim and letting loos some impressive bassy sequences (such as the car chases) and the score is boosted a good bit when utilized.
• “Blood Bonds: On the Set of Trespass Against Us” Featurette
• “Heartfelt: Director Adam Smith on The Chemical Brothers” Featurette
“Man Down” wants to sucker punch you with a mind blowing “reveal” at the end of the film that will endear the audience to Gabe’s plight, but it ends up just turning it into a Hallmark movie of the year with a wartime scenario instead. I wanted to like “Man Down”, I really did, but Dito Montiel has directed a rather slap dash wartime melodrama that spent way too much time trying to confuse the viewer with smoke and mirror time shifts in order to protect his big finale, that he ended up creating a mess of a film that just doesn’t have the impact that he was gearing up for. The audio and video are the best part of the package, so for those who are considering a purchase you can rest assured that he Blu-ray looks and sounds great. The extras are a bit weak, and the movie just as weak, which makes me give this one a thumbs down if I were you.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson, Lyndsey Marshall
Directed by: Alastair Siddons
Written by: Adam G. Simon
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 7th, 2017
Buy Trespass Against Us On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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