STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
The Cutlers are a traveller family living on the outskirts of Gloustershire. Colby (Brendan Gleeson) is the patriarch of the clan, the father figure with a contempt for authority, the education system and various other outside institutions that don't fit around the gypsy lifestyle. He uses a dummy of a policeman for target practise, and organizes raids on million dollar mansions owned by the rich. His son Chad (Michael Fassbender) wants a better life for his son Tyson (Georgie Smith), who he sends to a mainstream school, and wants out of the gypsy world. But after a raid on a judge's home goes awry, he finds himself plunged into a situation that spirals out of control, as the police crack down hard on them.
My local community has, in recent times, suffered at the hands of the travelling community, who've caused disruption rolling up on various car parks and such (in schools, and cinemas, ironically enough...), leaving much mess behind and taking up valuable police resources in getting rid of them. This lawless culture would seem to leave a blight on many places around the country, with similar tales being reported in various media outlets. With his feature length debut, director Adam Smith attempts to bring the world to the forefront in a traditional crime story about loyalty, honour and respect that doesn't reach any dizzying heights, but still demands your attention and keeps you gripped till the end.
It's one of those films where the performances drive the movie, and the star of the show would have to be Gleason, who has the most effective presence as the head of the clan, commanding respect and undivided attention from his brethren, but a definite runner up would be Fassbender, who creates an authentic embodiment of a real life gypsy, from his language to his mannerisms and swagger. A supporting cast including Lyndsey Marshal and Sean Harris, have equal kudos, but unavoidably have more limited screen time to display it.
Story wise, it's compelling and mighty enough, but there's just not enough of a solid structure to it to make it quite as dynamic as it could have been. Still, it could have been a lot worse, and Smith at least has the respite to include some humour in the proceedings in the form of some witty writing. You won't come away loving gypsies any more, but you'll at least be woken up to the filmic potential their background provides. ***