Movie review: Fassbender and Gleeson face off in Trespass Against Us

A24

Trepass Against Us opens in select New Zealand cinemas from March 16.

Trespass Against Us (R13)
99 mins ***1/2

Brendan Gleeson and Michael Fassbender play a "traveller" father and son with very different outlooks on life, in this intriguing, if not compelling, family drama.

Gleeson is Colby Cutler, a patriarch who believes that the police and justice system are to blame for everything from world hunger to the death of Jesus. Fassbender is his mostly dutiful son Chad, but one who wants to put his own growing family first, placing his six-year-old son Tyson in mainstream schooling and trying desperately to avoid following his own brother into prison.

However, his Pa would rather retaliate and rail against that perceived "injustice" and if Chad won't do his bidding, then maybe Tyson will.

Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson play son and father in Trespass Against Us.
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Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson play son and father in Trespass Against Us.

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 A kind of a cross between In the Name of the Father and TV's The Riches, British director Adam Smith's feature debut works best in subverting stereotypes of the traveller community .  Some members of this extended family are keen to integrate with society and would rather watch Antiques Roadshow than indulge in a night of drunken revelry or burglary. 

Hand-held camera work gives the story an added intimacy and if the plot eventually follows a predictable path, it's peppered by two terrific performances.  Fassbender is at his charming best as the son and father trying to go straight, while Gleeson is quietly menacing as the weirdly-coiffured leader with a penchant for animal-themed mixed-metaphors and phrases.

"Hell hath no fury like a locked up supergoat," he goads police. 

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 - Stuff

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