Adam Smith’s Trespass Against Us concerns the Cutler family, a gang of outlaws who’ve formed a private, ramshackle trailer park out in the countryside, nearly invisible among prosperous politicians and educators, whom they rob in spatially scrambled smash-and-grab operations. Class resentment fuels the clan’s crime wave yet is also on the verge of dissolving it: Patriarch Colby (Brendan Gleeson) wears his lack of education as a badge of honor, shaming his illiterate son, Chad (Michael Fassbender), who insists his own children attend school. Chad yearns for middle-class respectability, while Colby resents intellectualism as a means of brainwashing, telling nostalgic stories of how his own father insisted the world to be flat. During the film’s absurd, anachronistically uplifting conclusion, Chad, finally empathizing with Colby’s manipulative ignorance, tells his own son, Tyson (Georgie Smith), to “make up his own mind” as to the shape of the world.
Trespass Against Us doubles down on the isolationism that runs beneath the British crime genre, and it starts with the title, which scans as a gross endorsement of the anti-rational bitterness that begets Brexit, though this makes the film sound more ambitious and volatile than it actually is. Smith is primarily drunk on the most stifling and tediously familiar textures of British crime films, particularly grungy men who utter dialogue that’s barely discernable save for the profanity; they chew on the words “cunt” and “fuck” with especial reverence in shapeless, repetitive, seemingly endless scenes of wandering heckling. Meanwhile, a kernel of a great premise is squandered (Tyson sympathizes with Colby over Chad), along with the efforts of a slumming cast dwarfed by clichés and opportunistically scattershot class pity.