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Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson

Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson

“TRESPASS AGAINST US”  My rating: B- 

99 minutes | MPAA rating: R

As much a sociological study as a conventional melodrama, “Trespass Against Us” unfolds among a band of “travelers.” That’s how the Brits refer to the nomadic gypsies who have lived for centuries on the fringes of society.

Our unconventional hero is  Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender), a fearless master thief and taunter of police who, with the approach of middle age, is feeling the uncomfortable pull of responsibility.

Though Chad,  his wife Kelly (Lindsey Marshal) and their children Tyson (Georgie Smith) and Mini (Kacie Anderson) live a traditional gypsy life in a caravan (i.e., a trailer or mobile home), he’s beginning to want more  than a nonstop diet of carousing and crime interrupted by the periodic spells in stir.

The problem is Chad’s father Colby (Brendan Gleeson), the head of this particular band, who has no use for such posh niceties as literacy, conventional careers or societal approval.  Colby is more than just patriarchal — he’s practically Old Testament.

So even as Chad is laying secret plans to break away from the clan and set up a new life in an actual house, he still finds himself a reluctant participant in Colby’s criminal enterprises, including the burgling of a rural estate that nets a fortune in antiquities.

Despite some action sequences, “Trespass Against Us” is essentially a character study of two headstrong men positioning themselves for a colossal confrontation. And Fassbender and Gleeson, two of best actors in U.K. cinema, are clearly up to the challenge.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with the film (the direction is by Adam Smith, the screenplay by Alastair Siddons). But in the end it’s somewhat underwhelming.

| Robert W. Butler

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