(France/Mexico - 2016)
(US - 2016)
BOULEVARD is one of his better movies), but when he's having an off day--THE SON OF NO ONE, EMPIRE STATE--his work borders on the unwatchable, and even his muse Channing Tatum, who starred in his first three films, seems to have abandoned him. MAN DOWN is closer to the bottom end of Montiel's increasingly suspect filmography, and would be a complete train wreck if not for the commitment of LaBeouf, who gives it far more than he or anyone watching will get in return.
TRESPASS AGAINST US
(UK/US/UAE - 2016)
KING OF THE GYPSIES and 1997's TRAVELLER and the short-lived FX TV series THE RICHES, all of which focused on a close-knit family of con artists and criminals who are constantly on the move and scraping by on small-time schemes. Despite the presence of two great actors in Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson, TRESPASS AGAINST US never finds its footing and never gives you a reason to care about anyone or anything that's happening. Uneducated and illiterate Chad Cutler (Fassbender) has always lived in the shadow of his gregarious father Colby (Gleeson), who rules their tight-knit band of marauding West England low-lifes who have set up a semi-permanent trailer park in a vacant field. They get by on stealing cars, knocking over convenience stores, and other nickel-and-dime machinations, but Chad wants out. He wants something more for his wife Kelly (Lyndsey Marshal) and their children Tyson (Georgie Smith) and Mini (Kacie Anderson), but finds it hard to escape from under the thumb of the manipulative, controlling Colby. He also has a difficult time dealing with the pressure of being trapped by his own inability to read or write, which is why he insists on putting the kids in a good school even though the Cutler clan's criminal activities cause the kids to be truant enough to get them expelled. Not much happens in TRESPASS AGAINST US: there's a lot of "fook"s and "cunt"s being thrown about in thick accents that make the film reminiscent of early Danny Boyle or earlier Gleeson roles circa I WENT DOWN. The cops, led by Lovage (Rory Kinnear) are complete buffoons who even resort to kidnapping the kids from school in order to lure Chad to the police station, which is indicative of the inability of screenwriter Alistair Siddons and debuting director Adam Smith (a veteran of music videos and British TV favorites like SKINS and DOCTOR WHO) to settle on a tone. TRESPASS AGAINST US can't decide if it's a less grim, gypsy traveller take on ANIMAL KINGDOM or a wacky, would-be Irvine Welsh-type exercise. There's ill-conceived comic relief in the form of Gordon (Sean Harris), aka "Worzel," Chad's half-wit, borderline feral brother, a character so grating that it's a shock that Sharlto Copley wasn't cast in the role. Fassbender and Gleeson are exemplary performers, but they're both on autopilot here with little to inspire them. There's nothing here, no hook to get your interest in this family of assholes, and the stars seem to know it. A total misfire. (R, 100 mins)