Mumbling In Forests

Fassbender is miscast in this meandering crime flick

Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Trespass Against Us
Opens Fri 27
Broadway
2.5 out of 5

I would normally praise an A-lister for doing a low-budget movie like Trespass Against Us. It’s great when big stars take on humble projects.

Unfortunately, Michael Fassbender is severely miscast in this mildly-compelling-at-best drama.

Fassbender is Chad, the second in command of a community of outlaws living in the forest (one only wishes it was Robin Hood). Chad is a competent thief and one hell a of getaway driver. He’s also a family man, and he has common sense — at least compared to his fellow thieves.

When it becomes clear his son may end up as one of the inept criminals around him, Chad is forced to consider the possibility of jumping ship. The main obstacle is his father (Brendan Gleeson), a powerful figure who keeps Chad under his thumb using putdowns and guilt-tripping. Also, the police force isn’t big on welcoming repeat offenders back to society.

It takes one look at Fassbender to realize he is no shrinking violet, a detail that makes his character hard to swallow. I just can’t believe this guy could be bullied and manipulated. He’s not the only problem: Trespass Against Us often feels aimless as its premise is stretched over 90 minutes for no apparent reason.

The community of burglars and thieves, however, keeps the movie from sinking. It feels real and lived-in, and the characters are all flawed in interesting ways. Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible 5) as the commune’s resident buffoon is a plausible example of someone whose brain has turned to mush after a lifetime of limitless freedom.

While we care about the outcome, the film could’ve used a rewrite, a less-chiseled star and subtitles. The slang and the thick accents get in the way of following the story.