Michael Fassbender takes center stage in Trespass Against Us, a crime drama that doubles down with a healthy dose of family drama. Fassbender’s Chad was raised in a life of crime. He and his wife and children share a plot of land with his father, a larger than life Brendan Gleason. When the family decides to take a stand against the arrest of one of their own, a chain of events that will change all of their lives — and ultimately cause them to circle the wagons whether Chad likes it or not — is triggered and sets our story ablaze.
If you saw Snatch, think back to the Pikeys and you’ll get a feel for the vibe of Trespass Against Us. But, instead of a punchline/zany partner in crime, this movie makes the Cutler clan the focal point and heroes. On the surface, this is a story about outlaws, but at its core, Trespass Against Us is a story about fathers and sons, with a gritty, beating heart.
There’s nothing revolutionary happening here, but Trespass Against Us gets a lift from a certain willingness to pump the breaks. Few crime pictures make time for anything but adrenaline and betrayal, but this picture finds many of its best moments in the in-between. There are interludes that celebrate the beauty of the simple moments. We watch Chad laying in the sunlight with his family, watching tv and attempting to predict the value of some trinket or other on an Antiques Roadshow-style program. We see him tell his son in earnest that he wished he had gone to school. We see the inessential moments that make a life, if not a plot progression, and that’s where this movie shines. All the rest of it, the plot machinations, the heists and shenanigans are fun, but the life is, well, the lifeblood of this movie.