2016 Certificate: 15

Synopsis

West Country gypsy Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) and his wife Kelly (Lyndsey Marshal) plan to remove their family from the low crime clan ruled over by his controlling throwback father Colby (Brendan Gleeson). However, their hopes of a new life are dashed when Chad - at the behest of his father - unwittingly robs the country house of a rich and well-connected local aristocrat. He's soon in the sights of frustrated cop PC Lovage (Rory Kinnear) and his plans of escape look slim.

Director

  • Adam Smith

Cast

  • Michael Fassbender

  • Brendan Gleeson

  • Lyndsey Marshal

  • Georgie Smith

  • Rory Kinnear

  • Killian Scott

  • Sean Harris

Review

Thanks to hysterical tabloid demonisation and general public ignorance, the standing of the travelling community in Britain has never been that enviable.

So when we first meet the West Country travellers ruled over by uncompromising patriarch Colby Cutler (Gleeson) it comes as no surprise that there's is a life of petty crime and caravan-dwelling outside the mainstream.

However, Colby's son Chad (Fassbender) seeks to buck the trend, seeking a life for his wife Kelly (Marhsal) and kids outside the tight-knit group.

Naturally, this doesn't go down well with dad, an uncompromising misogynist who insists the Earth is flat. To clip Chad's wings, he schemingly organises a ram-raid at a country house with his son - the group's go-to getaway driver - behind the wheel.

The heist goes well but the nature of the target - the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire - ensures that Chad is a marked man, particularly in the eyes of local cop PC Lovage (Kinnear) who has been looking to feel his collar for years.

Debut director Adam Smith often sails close to cliche but he does get beneath the skin of Chad and Colby, an intriguing father-son dynamic that builds empathy rather than invite hostility.

There's some nicely staged small-scale action sequences - the car chase scenes on rural roads are impressive and a there's a nice touch when the resourceful Chad hides under a cow to avoid detection by a police helicopter touting an infra-red camera.

Honest yet non-judgemental, this puts the viewer in mind of Brit indie legend Shane Meadows...and that's no bad thing.

Tim Evans