|Fassbender and Gleeson 'Trespass Against Us' (2016)|
Michael Fassbender is one of a handful of actors who can go between blockbusters and small indies seamlessly. In Adam Smith's Trespass Against Us, the film revolves around an British gypsy/traveler family clan of ruthless outlaw criminals. As Chad Cutler, Michael Fassbender is the son of the family leader, Colby Cutler, brilliantly played by Brendan Gleeson. Chad was raised by a man who refused to allow Chad to be formally educated, and thus, Chad is completely illiterate, he cannot read or write, but, Chad is smart in spirit and he knows well enough that he does not want his children to grow up illiterate like him. To survive, the Cutler clan rob businesses and do a variety of illegal things to earn money. Even as a grown married man in his late 20s or early 30s, Chad's relationship with his father has Chad behaving like a controlled and oppressed teenager, unable to not do wicked deeds his father demands him to do on his behalf. Under the dark threat of having Chad's 7-year old son follow Chad's same dismal path, Chad makes plans for his family to move from the Cutler trailer camp, in hopes of living within the established surrounding community of law abiding citizens. However, once his father finds out about his future plans, Colby destroys Chad's one chance at having a normal life.
In one scene between Colby and his grandson, Colby tells the child that the 'other people' trespass against them with their brainwashing education system, and rigid society rules. In the Cutler community, they live life in the normal and natural way, all the other people and rules are wrong and bad for them, especially schools and church. In the latest criminal heist that Chad reluctantly handles, a lot of things go wrong and the police are out to get him by any means necessary. As Chad discovers that his opportunity for a normal and honorable life is now impossible, and that his children are gravely affected by the criminal actions and repercussions of the Cutler compound, Chad does one final act that gives him a way out from the deadly grip of Colby. The ending is very bittersweet in where Chad makes the ultimate sacrifice to assure his son that he loves him, and in getting away from Colby forever.
Trespass Against Us was briefly discussed by Michael Fassbender at the TIFF Soiree where he described that there is a community of people like the Cutler clan that live on the edges of society, and they have stories that need to be told. There is active prejudice against them because of their non-traditional and unruly outlooks on life. Adam Smith's directorial debut started off very good as I enjoyed watching Trespass, and there was great tension filled moments, and white knuckling high speed car chases, and running on foot from law enforcement scenes. Now this is not a criticism of the film per se, but I think Smith used Michael Fassbender's good looks to help sell the film. The viewer can be distracted by Michael being such a handsome man, the camera loves him in this film, and the director makes the most of every second to admire Michael's face, body, legs, hair, arms, chest, eyes, fingers, mouth... etc. Imagine using a beauty queen to sell the strongest plastic garbage bags that money can buy. A bit ridiculous, right? It was hard believing that such a beautiful man can be so uneducated and dress so poorly, living among very plain people. There was one scene where Chad and some of the community boys were in a car and one had to go into the gas station to buy petrol for a robbery job. Chad told the one guy to go into the store because he was the best looking of the bunch. The audience chuckled because it was silly and nonsensical, but we went with the joke. Even with Michael's face covered with a black knitted face mask, it was still MICHAEL FASSBENDER wearing a ski mask, not covering his laser beam blue eyes and sexy pout.
Go see Trespass Against Us, but be warned of the foul language and some British slang that is hard to understand. It's a good film study about an outlaw gypsy family that most of us did not know existed, and this is a culture whose story needs to be told. Michael was excellent in portraying a man seriously conflicted with his outlaw destiny under his father's heavy hand, and forging a new law-abiding destiny out of the love for his family.